When I started my freshman year at Emory University, I was excited for the new adventure but also apprehensive about leaving home and starting a new chapter of life. Would I find a close group of friends like I had in high school? Would the classes be too hard? How would I fit in?

It didn’t help that I was a bit gangly. Tripping over things came pretty naturally for me. Add the fact that Emory had all sorts of uneven surfaces and broken sidewalks led to me stumbling all over campus.

I tripped on the way to class. I tripped heading to the student center to check my mail. I tripped on the library steps.

There were obvious lessons to be learned: Watch your feet. Watch how you’re walking. Eventually I started to notice the places where I might be prone to lose my balance.

I thought of this episode as I consider what it means to walk as Jesus walked. There’s no record of him tripping anywhere. But I’d like to think He lost his footing from time to time. After all, He was fully human like us.

When the Bible says “whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way He walked” (1 John 2:6, ESV), it means that we are to learn His steps. How He lived. Who He cared for. Where He went and who went along with Him.

Unfortunately, when I seek to walk as He walked and do what He did, such as love everyone around me, bless those who offend me, forgive others, be a servant — I keep tripping over my own feet.

Tripping over my pride.

Tripping over my need to control things (see “pride” above).

Tripping over my self-centeredness.

Tripping over complacency or thinking things can’t get better.

I take heart that God sees and orders my steps. I may not get it right all the time — I may stumble and disappoint myself and others — but God is able to catch me and keep me on the right path.

This morning’s reading plan from the Moravian Bible was Psalm 37:23-24 (NIV): “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”

I wish I had known that verse as a freshman in college! But seriously, God has never failed me. God has continued to lead my life even when I was trying to lead my life. God has continued to show me how Jesus walked and gently helped me do that with more consistency.

For the past few Sundays we have studied Jesus’ words and way. This Sunday, we will look at the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane where He prayed on the night before He was crucified: “Not my will, but your will be done.” We will consider His will for us.

He surrendered His will to God’s will. If we walk as He walked, we will do the same.

A Look Ahead

I hope you will plan to join us for Holy Week activities.

We will begin with an amazing film screening, “Following the Footsteps” with Pastor Bob Rognlien of 3DMovements, on this Friday night, March 22. We will gather in Trentham Hall around 6pm and then start the screening around 6:30pm. All are welcome.

The next day, Saturday, March 23, Pastor Rognlien will also be present to lead us through a virtual tour of the Holy Land. The day will begin at 8:30am. Childcare for those 3 and under will be provided if you register with Susan Tatum in advance ([email protected]). Again, all are welcome.

We will then have a Seder Meal (a full meal with traditional elements from the Jewish Passover observance) on Thursday evening, March 28. You can register by emailing Lorna Hollowell at [email protected]).

Lastly, we invite you to join us for Eggstravaganza, our community-wide Easter Egg hunt and fun day at World’s Fair Park on Saturday, March 30 from 2-4 pm.

Easter is coming! I hope you’ll be present on Sunday, March 31 for a time of amazing worship and fellowship. We will have a regular Sunday schedule for that day.

Together we are learning to walk as Jesus walked. I am glad to be on the journey with you. Maybe you could invite a friend along, too.

Much love to you and have a great week!

Pastor Brent McDougal