Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Journey of Faith

I'm beginning a series on the Journey of Faith, taken from explorefaith.org. The article is lengthy, but nicely divided up for daily posting. Enjoy and begin the journey to which he has called us!

The Journey of Faith

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.

Introduction: The Sacred Journey

Our Spiritual Journey is not like most trips. There is not a set starting point, designated route and predetermined destination. Rather, the Sacred Journey is about broadening our image of God, about 'becoming' rather than being, about asking questions, about always moving forward toward the heart of God. The labyrinth, the symbol of the heart of God, is also the symbol for the Journey. The labyrinth is not a maze but a path along which we travel in search of an understanding of life and faith.

Fortunately, there are 'guides' for our journey...the Bible, of course, and other faith-formation writings, like The Sacred Journey by Frederick Buechner. Movies and music can also help us experience the world around us. Films such as A River Runs Through It, Pay It Forward, or The Hurricane are stories of individuals experiencing life as a journey.

And there are examples of journeys taken by those before us. Scripture describes Peter at three different points in his life. In Mark 14:26-31 and Mark 14:66-72, we see a fearful, embarrassed Peter denying Jesus three times immediately following his arrest in Jerusalem. A different Peter is seen in Acts 4:5-20 after Jesus was crucified. This much-changed, empowered Peter healed the lame and boldly proclaimed Jesus before the Jewish authorities. John 21:1-19 provides yet another view of Peter's journey. In this scripture, Peter and the other disciples encounter the Risen Lord at the Galilean seashore, the third time Jesus had appeared to the disciples after being crucified. Three times Jesus asks Peter, "Do you love me?...then feed my sheep."

Our path, like the path Peter walked, is often equally confusing. For that reason, the presence of others can help us find our way.

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