Pathways through Lent

Mapping Who We Are

Psalm 95 Genesis 40:1–23 1 Corinthians 3:16–23 Mark 2:13–22

As a child, I remember being fascinated by maps. They seemed to open up
new horizons, new places I’d never been but were there, ready to explore. I
particularly loved the centuries-old maps with fantastic sea monsters writhing
in the oceans, hoary gods with tridents ready to spear unsuspecting sailors,
and oversized cupids blowing great gusts across the seas. Even the land
masses had their charms: the Mountains of the Moon plunked down in Africa
that Herodotus had said were the source of the Nile, and South America,
with giant sloths and mastodons wandering the continent. I was particularly
intrigued by southern Arabia, of which a map noted more accurately, if less
prosaically, Nothing is known of this coast or the interior.
Maps purport to tell us about our surroundings, but in fact they tell us more
about ourselves than we might acknowledge. They project our fears, as those
mapmakers did in those glimpses of sea monsters. They make clear lines
between the territory we know and the unexplored. They show us future
possibilities and where we can go.
Particularly in Lent, it’s appropriate to ask: Where are we going? When we use
a smartphone app to locate the nearest Starbucks or the closest cinema, are we
not revealing our priorities?
We are all pilgrims on the same journey, yet we all have our own uniquely
individual maps to guide us on our way. What sort of personal map are you
making to guide you day by day to your priorities? And are you happy with
where you’re going?
–Powell Hutton



3 thoughts on “Mapping Who We Are”

  1. …and sometimes on our journey, we find we only have a compass to guide us through a forest of what is right in front of us. Thank you for the reminder to take the time to look at the big picture — it is nice to have a map that shows possibilities and gives hope.

  2. This is so brilliantly stated! Thank you, Powell! Maps are rich with the balance of tangeable and untangeable; the facts revealed, suggested, and then the unknown which can only be defined through exploration.

  3. Theme from “Mahagony” – Diana Ross

    Do you know, where you’re going to?
    Do you like the things that life is showing you?
    Where are you going to?
    Do you know?

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