Friday, November 30, 2007

The Journey Continues

Each fall for 15 years, up to 100 people gathered every Wednesday night at Calvary Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tennessee, to explore the meaning of the Sacred Journey. Led by the Rev. Dr. Douglass M. Bailey, the participants in the class listened and talked about their own journey and the journey of others. The class affirmed the individual nature of each journey and each person's need to explore the questions that can shape their path. The people who journeyed together each fall learned about prayer, community, death and resurrection. They heard questions and reflections from others, and through them came to a better understanding of their own spiritual growth. We have included an overview of the Journey material here in hopes that some of the ideas may help you on your own Spiritual path. The questions are meant for you to ask yourself and those traveling with you. Use those that are meaningful to you as guideposts, pointing down a road you may not yet have explored.

The Journey with the Human Jesus

Jesus is at the center of the community of the forgiven. It is Jesus who offers forgiveness to us all. The human Jesus is God incarnate, God with us. The word incarnation literally means "has human characteristics." Jesus is both human and holy, earthly and divine. We can see Jesus' humanness in Biblical accounts of his anger, his highs and lows, his loneliness, and choices. Oftentimes, our greater challenge is to see our own holiness...God within each of us.

Jesus is also the one who asks us to change. The Greek word metanoia is often translated as "repent," but the more correct understanding is probably "deep change." The community of the forgiven includes those who have accepted Jesus' invitation to a deep, abiding change.

In Mark 8:27-36, Jesus asks his disciples "Who do people say that I am?" and "Who do you say that I am?" How do you respond to those questions. Who is Jesus? What attracts us to him? What are his compelling characteristics? Honest answers to these questions express our faith.

Yet, there is a catch. With faith also comes doubt. If you had the opportunity to speak directly to Jesus, what would you ask? What are the doubts and uncertainties that trouble you in your faith. …. Why do so many bad things happen? Why don't I hear God when I pray? Why do so many people interpret your words so differently?

We cannot have faith without some doubts, without questions...otherwise no faith would be required.

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