Summer often brings vacations, travels, and opportunities to step out of the busyness of our daily lives. We visit with family and friends, encounter new places and experiences, and enjoy rest and relaxation.

Scripture tells us of many travelers and journeys. Abraham set off with a promise and little else. The Israelites began their forty-year trek with excitement but soon complained and grumbled when the way became difficult. Mary and Joseph had little control over their destination or departure date. The magi rerouted their trip after visiting Herod. Jesus and his disciples wandered through towns and countryside. Paul ventured out with zeal and purpose, finding welcome in some places and hostility in others.

At church, we often see that travels mean we do not get to see each other quite as much as we’re used to. Nonetheless, we know that God is with us whether we are here or there. When you are in Ankeny, I hope you’ll take time to join us for worship. When you are traveling, I hope you’ll remember our livestream. Wherever you are, I hope you know that you can ask God’s guidance and protection no matter what.

As you go forth on journeys of your own this summer, may this prayer guide you along the way:

What should we pack as we begin our journey?
What should we bring along?
The word of God to illumine our path.
The light of Christ to show us the way.
The gifts of the Spirit to share with those we meet.
The love of God to be our compass and guide.
God of our salvation,
you are the source of all our beginnings.
As we plan for our journeys,
strengthen us through your word.
Orient our lives toward Christ,
the bright Morning Star.
Send your Holy Spirit as our companion along the way.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

And as you return toward home:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
We believe in God, we believe in Christ.
“I go to prepare a dwelling place for you.”
You are the way, the truth, and the life.
“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.”
Lord, we abide in your love.
“You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Jesus, lead us in the path of your peace.
God of resurrection,
neither death nor life will separate us from your love.
Walk with us when our journeys lead toward home.
Strengthen us to follow the way of the cross
and bring us at last into the joy of your heavenly kingdom.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

(adapted in part from Sundays and Seasons “Travels, Trips, and Journeys: A Service of Word and Song for Summer”)