We were just a small group setting out for the monthly walk after church at St Columba’s. There had been times when we had been a large group with some haring away up the hill to be first to the top, and others struggling to catch their breath and willing their legs to go faster. So next day, when I downloaded my copy of The Message, the modern translation of the Bible by Eugene Peterson, and chose a verse at random to read, I thought it had been written especially for the hill walking group.
Ephesians 4:4 read –
“You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly.”
How refreshingly new. It was as if I had never seen those words before. Yet when I returned to the more familiar NRSV I found this verse:
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling,”
I had read, and heard it read, many times before. Somehow the translation that used an illustration from everyday life (the walk along a road) brought out more meaning than the abstract notions of ‘spirit’ and the ‘hope of you calling’.
So whether we need the tangible illustrations of going for a walk together, or the abstract notions of calling, body, and spirit, the message is the same :- to stay together, to help the slowest to reach the top of the hill along with the fastest. That to me what being a Christian community is all about.