People of the 'Way'
Ac 9:2 “…and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.”
I recall having to write a paper, many years ago, as I was studying to finish my Bachelor’s degree in theology. That paper was to answer a need in my then congregation. The paper was to introduce some new ministry that would propel my congregation—and conversely me—to greatness. Well, the new idea didn’t work—LOL—and I’m still not great!
Oh, the idea you ask? I took the Acts 9:2 passage and used the concept of the Way. ‘The Way’ would be a newly launch ministry that was to be spectacular. Well, it didn’t actually ever get off the ground.
However, ‘people of the way,’ struck me today as the read that phrase in Margaret Silf’s book Inner Compass. Here’s the entire sentence: “This kind of journey is not for ‘pillars of the Church.’ It is for ‘people of the way.’ That resonated in my spirit—let me tell you why.
Two pages back Margaret wrote about a journey she was on—along with some good friends. She uses these words—‘groups of friends who wanted to come together to share their search for God.’ Then more: “…as we make the journey inward toward the pearl of great price that lies both at our own deepest center and far beyond our wildest imaginations.”
Here is why that resonates in my spirit;
- ‘People of the way’ are a better description of God-followers. Following God is a process not an event. The paradox of Christian spirituality is this—I have both found God, and am searching for God—both simultaneously. I am on a journey. I am looking for God. I am searching for the pearl of great price. I am on the way—I am moving—I’m not a pillar in the church. However, I have also found God—or at least He has found me—hence the paradox.
- The ministry of spiritual direction has taught me this: I share my journey with others. Because it is a journey there are hills, mountains, streams to cross, and meadows to relax in. Spiritual direction has given me fellow travelers. People who are on the journey with me. These are not people who have arrived and are at the side lines coaching me onward—but fellow pilgrims.
- So I am learning to wear a couple of hats that represent my journeys. First—and foremost I have a spiritual director who often takes the lead in our journey. Together we travel listening to the Holy Spirit. Second, I travel with some others—and by God’s grace I take lead in the journey—and together we listen to the Holy Spirit.
‘A person of the Way’—that’s an apt description of what I am. I’m on a journey—I invite you to come along!