I’m currently doing an MA in Mission and Leadership at Church Mission Society and I had zoned out a bit in a lecture. Someone said something about: “Three mile an hour God” and I didn’t know what they were talking about. It turns out that “Three Mile an hour God” is a book (a classic) by Kosuke Koyama a Asian theologian, and ‘Three Miles an hour’ refers to the average human walking speed, in other words a God who walks with us, alongside us, at our pace. This image blew my mind, yet it makes sense God chooses to partner with us in his mission of transforming his world, created and knows us and ‘knows of what we are made’.
When out walking I adjust my pace of walking when I am holding my little girls hand so that we can walk together, God does the same thing with me and you.
As I thought further about ‘walking with God’ I was reminded of this passage in Genesis where God walks in the Garden of Eden seeking out Adam and Eve to walk with.
I love walking, I like seeing beautiful things, but I prefer walking with someone so that you can share what you see.
As a Pastor I have long and deep conversations with people and so I often suggest “why don’t we go for a walk”, people open up and share when you walk with them rather than sat opposite them staring at them! Walking with suggests taking time, accompanying, listening to, journeying with and being in step with. Nor are we ashamed to be seen with the person we are travelling with, just as Christ is not ashamed to be seen with us.
As I thought about walking with God, I thought about the image of journey, normally from somewhere too somewhere. As I thought more about this metaphor I wondered when walking with God am I rushing to get to the destination and ignoring my trav-elling companion? Or am dawdling along never getting anywhere and God is urg-ing me to keep walking.
Recently I accompanied a school on a pilgrimage day, and as I am tall I was at the back of the class to make sure we didn’t loose any stragglers, most of the conversa-tion I had with young people on that journey went something like this “my feet hurt”, “its too hot” or “my bags heavy” -which felt sad as they were missing beautiful coun-try side, amazing sea views and a chance to enjoy hanging out with their mates. Yet is this all I talk to God about? Do I just whinge about how hard the journey is? My-self and their fab class teacher kept on trying to encourage them to keep on going and walk, and not stop, because when you stop it is harder to start again, and the gap between you and everyone else gets bigger and bigger.
As I thought about my walk, I thought about walking with my wife, and sometimes I hold her hand, because on occasions I just feel like I need to know she is there with me, and just her presence -often not even having to say anything- helps me on my journey, to know I am not alone, I am walking with someone who loves me and that they are there with me.
At our wedding we were given a toilet roll (I can’t remember the significance of it be-ing a toilet roll!) with another verse on it, from the end of Luke’s Gospel “Jesus him-self went with them but they did not recognise him” -A verse I have often thought of, Jesus is Immanuel -God with us- he does not forsake us or abandon us, he promis-es that he will never leave us, and he will be with us even to the end of the age. Yet so often I fail to recognise him walking with me and fail to hear his voice ask “where are you?”
In the story of the Road to Emmaus, the disciples welcomed Jesus to come and walk with them and share with them, even though they did not know it was him.
A challenge for us all to see if we can recognise God walking with us? To share with him like we would walking with our very best friend -sometimes we don’t even have to say a word -just touch of his hand.
And don’t stop walking with him, even when it feels tough, as you will miss out on all the wonders God has for you in your journey with him.