Column: Journeys, Large and Small

By Maxwell Grant

Our beloved old Subaru came to the end of the road late last week.

It was the car I drove back and forth to divinity school. The car that handled most of the move when I moved to Brooklyn to get married. The car we used to drive Grace home from the hospital when she was born… and the one we were driving one Sunday afternoon (trying to get her to nap) when we first visited the church campus at 2CC, never imagining that we would be called here. I could go on, of course. Thirteen years is a long run.

More recently, it’s the car that kept me up at night, as I imagined Liz stranded on the Merritt once the head gasket finally went for good.

But I’ll miss that car. 

So much in our world is designed to be disposable—to live its life and then get replaced without fanfare. Even so, some of the tools we use still come to have a spirit of their own, somehow. It is as if they become part of us.

Years ago, I went to a museum in France where a blacksmith’s hammer from the nineteenth century was on display. There was nothing remarkable about the hammer.  Well, nothing remarkable, except that, over years of use, the hammer’s wooden handle had been worn into the specific shape of the blacksmith’s hand. 

It had become part of him. 

In that spirit, it can be hard to see a car go. You suddenly remember how all those little trips were part of a much greater journey—not the car’s journey, of course, but yours. 

Scripture reminds us that “to everything there is a season.” Cars. Homes. Jobs. Even our very lives. Yet we also know that we are infinitely important, and infinitely interesting to God. Mysteriously and wonderfully, God decided that the little journeys of our lives were, nevertheless, part of the great journey of Creation as it needed to unfold. 

It may seem strange to put it quite this way, but God recognizes that we are part of Him.  It’s not always clear that we do, or that we take that seriously enough. We know that our head gasket’s leaking and that really, what we need is a full rebuild—which would probably require more than we’re worth. 

But God sees us differently than we see ourselves. He sees the passages we’ve undertaken. The little things we’ve done with as much faithfulness as we could muster.  The ways in which, without even knowing it, we were part of Creation’s own slow journey.   

He loves us all the more for all that. His Word tells us that dependability over mileage is far more important to Him than any snazzy new feature.

And in the end, we remember that all roads lead to Him. 

The Rev. Maxwell Grant has been the senior minister at Second Congregational Church since February 2012. He is a 2006 graduate of Yale Divinity School, where he was awarded the Mersick Prize for Preaching, and he was ordained in June 2007. Max and his wife, Liz Perry, an independent school administrator, have two daughters, Grace and Emily.


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