Reflections on Faith & Life for the Years of Winter…
Trains have always been an image for life and Christian faith, at least as long as there have been trains.
Life is like a mountain railroad
With an engineer who’s brave
We must make this run successful
From the cradle to the grave
Watch the curves, the fills, the tunnels
Never falter, never quail
Keep your hand upon the throttle
And your eye upon the rail
Blessed savior, thou wilt guide us
Till we reach the blissful shore
Where the angels wait to join us
In thy praise for evermore
[There are three more verses that fill out the whole railroad journey.]
Our pastor, Jimmy Moore, used a very helpful railroad image as Bob Epps lead our Lenten Bible study at St Mark’s UMC on “The Song of the Vineyard,” in Isaiah 5:1-7.
Someone asked about people who don’t acknowledge God. Not just theoretical atheists, but “practical atheists,” the vast majority of people who are not aware of the “thin places” in the universe where we actually experience God, who are not aware of the action of God in the world, who do not even consider God unless something bad happens.
Jimmy said that with a train, it’s not about who’s on board, but where the train is going.
I find that to be a very helpful image of the Kingdom of God, a train that is going toward its destination regardless. We can get on board or not, but the train keeps going.
Still, I like to sing as we go along, “Get on board, little children, get on board, little children, get on board, little children, there’s room for many a more.”
“Life’s Railroad to Heaven” was written by Eliza R. Snow and M.E. Abbey.
I think both Madeline L’Engle and CS Lewis spoke of “thin places in the universe.”