While driving on the Ohio Pass Road near Gunnison, Colorado, I saw a road sign I’d never seen before. It looks sort of like a domino. It is a rectangle composed of two squares. The bottom square is a black box with a stripe down the middle. The top square is filled with static. Here’s a photo of it.
The sign is meant to advise motorists that the pavement ends, but the road continues. After the pavement ends, there will be bumps, potholes, dust, and other challenges. The transition can be abrupt if you don’t slow down and pay attention.
That’s a fitting metaphor for the journey of faith, isn’t it? The pavement represents the progress and accomplishments grace has helped us reach thus far. The unpaved road represents the uncertain, hazardous, and often bumpy road conditions that lie ahead. God is constantly calling us to continue moving forward and to trust in the divine guidance that will be available to us in an uncertain future. When we make the transition from the familiar to the unfamiliar, we need to pay attention and be open to guidance as we travel through new challenges. The Son of God, who is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, has already blazed the trail for us.
It’s also a fitting metaphor for transition ministry in the Church. Transition ministers enter the community during the time between settled pastors. Our task involves helping the members of the community slow down, pay attention, and prepare for future transformation for themselves and the mission field at their doorstep. After all, with God's help, we paved the road we've been on. The same God will be there to help us pave the continuing road that lies ahead.
This is just one more sign that life is a series of transitions. Transitions are normal and necessary. What we make of them is the key to transformation. The pavement ends, but the road continues.
The Very Rev'd Ron Pogue
St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church