Packing for the Long Haul – Devotional

Before a backpacking trip, I lay out everything I’d like to take on the floor. Clothes, food, water purification system, first aid kit…

Then I start to take things away. The book I’m always too tired to read anyway. The trail mix that is delicious but heavy. The extra pair of underwear that would feel so nice to put on, on day four.

I’d love to take it all, but I can’t. It’s simple physics. Or biology. There is only so much room in my pack. And only so much energy in my body to carry it with.

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited but emptied himself…being born in human likeness. – Philippians 2:5-7 (NRSV)

I’ve heard a lot of progressive Christians say they don’t like the idea of giving something up for Lent. It feels too negative. More than one has told me they prefer to take something on.

But I find myself wondering, “Where do they put it? How do they manage it?”

My bag is full. And my body can’t carry what it used to. If I want to make the journey of this season, I have to put something(s) away.

Jesus did too.

I don’t pretend to understand the physics or the biology of how all that divinity got stuffed into skin. But Paul, at least, says it involved leaving something behind, emptying something out.

Jesus travels the road to the cross lightly. And I will have to do the same if I want any hope of keeping up.


Lighten my load. Make room for what I need on this journey.

About the Author:

Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.