Travel is a privilege and a blessing. These are the months of travail for refugees fleeing the horrors of war in Syria. We heard, in Sunday’s sermon, of the equally horrific plight of youth in El Salvador, where one is forced into sex-slavery or soldiering on pain of death by the drug gangs. So to travel in safety is a great privilege.
When I walk the Jakobswege in Europe, it is the intentional unknown that makes me vulnerable, that opens a crack for encounter with the Divine. This year’s journey is different- offering community, which can be vulnerability of a different kind. But for me intentional vulnerability is still a key for the Divine.
On the flight over, I watched the film The Martian and I was struck by the forms and strength of community this astronaut experienced. In the initial disaster, of course the astronaut feels his loneliness and the loss of community. But his crew mates also feel the diminishment of community, as does the NASA staff — in fact the whole world mourns. With each step of re-established communication, the sense of community connection is restored a little bit more. Until, in the final measure, he is physically retrieved and fully restored to community. We are shown that communication leads to connection, and connection leads to community. But that is not the only element. There is also a mutual sense of belonging; this particular individual belongs to this ship’s crew, this organization’s staff, this planet’s people. He feels it, and they feel it. And each feels a mutual accountability; this makes a bond they all feel.