We wanted to reach “Rösrath” – the valley of hope. Where’s that? You may wonder. Well, the ten participants of the walk through the Bergischen Land managed to find it. We set out one summer morning to spend a day in the countryside. We were looking to have a bit of time for ourselves and for God and to enjoy it together. At the beginning of the walk we brought something to eat and not much else. Along the way, our inner backpack started to fill up.
As soon as we started, we were challenged by the promise of Jesus: Have faith, it’s me, don’t be afraid! (Mt 14, 22-33). We did the first part of the twelve kilometres, which would take us to our destination, in silence. We were accompanied by this question: What are today’s headwinds and what shakes our lives now?
After a few kilometres we reopened our inner backpack: God came to shed light on how he approaches us, how he is addressing us and where and how we have experienced him. And the route itself gave us evidence of the goodness of the Creator who makes the grass grow on the mountains. (Ps 147, 8) It is he who tells us: I have loved you with an eternal love, so I have reserved grace for you (Jr 31, 3)
Love comes from God and he who loves comes from God (…), because God is love (1 Jn 4: 7-9). This affirmation of the apostle John was the centre of our common sharing at the end of the journey. What does this mean to us? If God is love and we are his creatures, we are also love and we are called to love. Believing that love is our identity, gives a new meaning to our daily life which in turn leads us to learn to love in concrete everyday situations.
Our backpacks were full: Enriched by nature, by the loving presence of God and by the community and the good conversations we’d had together. We celebrated it with a refreshing ice cream and at the end of the afternoon we returned home.
Each of us took something different away in their backpack. Some may have had more questions than answers. But the questions also do us a lot of good, and having this time for ourselves and for God. The truth is that we should do this more often.