Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Road Less Traveled

When I was in the fifth grade, and just about to leave the comfortable confines of elementary school to move on to the big, bad world of junior high school, the school librarian, Mrs. Marks, read us a poem. The poem that she read to us was Robert Frost’s famous, “The Road Not Taken.”

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

When I entered into junior high school, I was certainly faced with choices, choices regarding classes and cigarettes and drugs. Throughout my life, I have been aware that there are two roads that diverge in the wood. And I have discovered that the road less traveled has made all the difference in my life.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus proclaims to his followers that he alone is the Bread of Life, that we must eat this bread, that we must believe in him, that we must consume him and eat him and feed on him in order to live an abundant life. This teaching is too difficult to swallow; therefore, many of his followers choose the road more traveled and leave Jesus behind.
Yet a small group of followers choose the road less traveled. His closest followers ask Jesus: “Lord, to whom else can we go?” They realize that their options are limited; there is no better option in life than to believe in Jesus, for by choosing that road, it has made all the difference.

Each and every day, we see two roads that diverge in the wood. And we must make a choice: do we take the road that the world says leads to life? Or, do we take the road less traveled, the road where Jesus’ teaching is difficult, the road that asks us to give up everything, the road that calls us to lay down our life for our friends, the road where we eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus so that the Bread of Life may dwell in us, and we in him?

As your pastor, I have promised God and you that I will show you that there are two roads that diverge in the woods. You do have a choice. Yet as your spiritual leader, it is my joy when I see you choose the road less traveled.

When I see you choosing to study the Gospel of John, when I see you opening the Bible with your teenager in the youth room, when I see you washing dishes in the parish hall kitchen after a Sunday lunch, when I see you singing in the choir room every Wednesday night, when I see you pulling into the parking lot every Sunday to eat the bread of heaven that gives life to the world, when I see you taking the road less traveled, then it is my joy to know that you are choosing the road to abundant and eternal life.

Take the road less traveled by. Choose Jesus. For he has made all the difference.

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