I have been captivated by the poetry of Michael Card, especially by the words of his song There Is A Joy in the Journey. Read the words of the first verse.
There is a joy in the journey
There’s a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey.
I have often thought of the Christian life as a journey. That was impressed on me in 2006 when I rode my bicycle across Canada on behalf of the Canadian Bible Society. That trek became, for me a metaphor for life. Many mornings I was asked to share a devotional thought as we began the day together. I collected these thoughts under the general title of Lessons from the Back of the Pack or things I have learned while people were passing me, and that happened a lot. A friend suggested I share some highlights of my journey with Jesus. I’ve decided that that is what I will do in this set of posts. So, where to begin? How about at the beginning? How did my journey with Jesus begin?
I was raised in a Romanian Orthodox home. I was baptised as an infant and taken to church with my parents for as long as I can remember. I even became an altar boy and stood in front of the iconostasis with a candle in my hands. The language of the liturgy was Romanian and only semi-familiar to me. I spoke Romanian to my dad, but the Romanian of the home was somewhat different than the Romanian spoken in church. As I stood with the melting candle in my hands, I watched the wax drop off on to my hands. I had very little interest in what was going on and could hardly wait till the priest began his homily which meant that we would soon be free to leave the church. When I graduated from high school and moved to Regina to attend university, I vowed that I would never set foot in church again. My grandmother had other ideas and would occasionally invite me over for a Sunday dinner. It came with the proviso that I come to church with her first. That was a dilemma – would I pay the price for my grandmother’s home cooking by attending church. I always went to church – the promise of good Romanian home cooking always outweighed the pain and boredom of a two-hour liturgy. Mostly I avoided church like the plague.
After a less than illustrious university career I began to work for the Saskatchewan Government Insurance Office, where I stayed for three years. I made the move to Cooperators Insurance Services where I met Iona, to whom I have now been married for over 51 years. I asked her to marry me, and we agreed that our wedding would take place on July 3, 1971, but where would it take place. First, St. George’s Romanian Orthodox church was totally out of the question, but since Iona had been raised Anglican, we approached the vicar at St. Alban’s Anglican church in Regina. He insisted that we take pre-marital counseling or he wouldn’t perform the ceremony. So, reluctantly I went. It didn’t take the priest long to realize that I was a “lost ball in tall grass” and excused us from further classes. I have looked back on that young couple and concluded that I wouldn’t have wanted to marry them – he was something of a jerk and would probably destroy any hope that marriage might have. Our wedding took place and shortly after, at the beginning of 1972 we moved to Saskatoon. Church wasn’t part of my life nor was any relationship with Jesus. Iona thought a little religion would help me, but not too much. I was reasonably content and could see no reason that I needed any religion in my life. How wrong I was! In my next post I will look at how Jesus moved into my life and my learning about grace.
So till the next time we meet, Keep the Son in Your Eyes.