Some of our deepest desires as human beings are to belong and live a fulfilling, meaningful life. That kind of life does not just happen randomly. It requires faithful love and wisdom, and some effort in practice. The earliest followers of Jesus were known as ‘THE WAY’ (Acts 9:2; 19:9,23; 24:14,22). This identity arose from Jesus’ declaration in John 14:6: ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life.’
Life often throws us events for which our narrative of meaning (our story of what is truly happening) is disrupted. The sudden death of a friend or family member, the breaking down of relationships, chronic illness or pain, and the weariness of disappointed hopes can lead us to disillusionment. That disillusionment can lead to cynicism and then, unbelief.
The friends on the road to Emmaus were talking about the sad events that had happened in Jerusalem when ‘Jesus himself drew near and went with them’ (Luke 24:15). Jesus chose to be with them in their pain. After walking with Jesus, talking with Jesus, learning with Jesus, and finally eating with Jesus, their eyes were suddenly opened. They recognized Jesus when he blessed the bread and gave it to them. The story of their devastating life events was ‘re-storied’ as Jesus revealed the truth of His living presence in the midst of their confusion. His revelation brought new meaning to the narrative of events and their place in the story of God.
In these videos for the University of the Nation’s Masters in Christian Formation and Discipleship, Dr John Peachey shares how the sorrows of life can be opportunities to walk with God and unpick the false narratives and reweave the true stories of our identity, belonging, and significance. He suggests that ‘Who we are becoming, depends on the company we keep, and what we do and say together’. Keeping company with Jesus and those who love Jesus and putting Jesus’ words into practice are vital when life’s events cause undeserved and unexplained loss and suffering. ‘Practicing a Way of Life’ describes part of our journey of restoring and bearing God’s image and likeness. Our lives renewed, together with our brothers and sisters who have also suffered, tell God’s story of faithful love.
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