Monday, 2 September 2013
The Journey in the Bible
Scripture itself is best seen as a Big Story told through many stories, and a story always involves a journey - in the case of the Bible's story, it is the journey from creation to new creation. Then, the story of God's rescue and restoration plan after humanity's rebellion begins with a man - Abraham - on a life-changing and history-changing journey, and others of the patriarchs have significant journeys. Two major journeys loom large in the OT - the Exodus and the Return from Exile - and in fact they are re-imagined and reworked by NT writers to convey something about the spiritual life and our present journey as the church. Many other stories in the OT involve journeys for key characters - think of David, or of Ruth, for example. And consider how the psalmists compared the spiritual life to following the right path or way. In the NT, Jesus seemed to be always travelling, most significantly to Jerusalem; and how many of his parables involved journeys or travel? Jesus is of course the Way, as well as truth and life (John 14:6). Then there are the missionary journeys in the book of Acts, which form the backdrop for the letters. And those early Christians, like us, were aliens and strangers in this world (1 Peter 2:11), having no 'abiding city' (Heb.13:14), and so committed to a life of pilgrimage in this world. One of my favourite journeys in the NT is the one where the risen Jesus drew alongside the despondent disciples on the Emmaus Road, and restores their hope (Luke 24). And of course Jesus is able to do that because of the journey he has made from the Father's side to the Cross and through death to Resurrection, to new creation life, blazing a trail for us to follow, and then preparing to make another journey at his Return when he comes to make all things new. Wow! So Journey lies at the heart of our faith - that is why it was originally called the Way (Acts 9:2). This has significance for us now - let's consider it over the next few days. Most posts won't be as long as this one!