Not knowing the way precisely where Jesus will lead us much of the time goes with the territory of discipleship.
This sacrament is not an exercise in nostalgia, though it is remembrance; here at this table, the past, present, and future are joined in a meal that gives us a glimpse of the kingdom of God, even in the presence of our enemy, whether that enemy is human, virus, or death itself.
The choice of faithfulness is not binary. When we look back at crossroads, it may seem that there was only one faithful choice we could have made. The word of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that God is with us on whichever path we take. If it is a wrong one, God leads us back, or reshapes the path before us.
As much as we would like to have a vaccine against all kinds of sin, some protection against ever taking that first step on a journey of one temptation after another, this fallen state, this human condition, this weakness of the will infects our species... ....As we pray “lead us not into temptation,” that’s not bad advice: Keep your eyes on the cross. Relax, breathe, and walk, one step at a time.
The temptation, when we lift these passages out of their larger story, is to embrace self-sufficiency. If we just try harder, we can do what God says in the law; if we try even harder, we can do what Jesus says in the sermon on the mount. I can’t speak for anyone else, but my track record of just trying harder is not so great.