I AM THE WAY….
This is a picture of one of the markings on the floor in church. It indicates the way to go. We have a one-way system as part of the Covid restrictions, to keep everyone safe. It is clear. Marked out in easy to see yellow and black. It is in front of you as you walk and under your feet as you pass. It is a recognisable and easy to interpret sign. “Walk this way, not any other way”. You can also see at the top of the picture the tramlines that mark out the walk way of the one-way system. They say “these are the boundaries, don’t step beyond here; follow the arrow”.
Wouldn’t life be easier if our path was marked on the floor and the boundaries marked off with warning tape to the left and to the right?
But maybe they are…..
These musings started while seated in Morning Prayer on Wednesday. Steve led us brilliantly with an encouraging and challenging talk from Romans 8 (“not condemned but filled with the Spirit”). The fact that I managed to place the stand for the i-Pad that was broadcasting the service right in front of Steve’s face from where I was sitting did not detract from the beautifully led service. But, it did mean that my eyes wandered to what was in front of me.
Here is another photo. It is the sign on the wall telling us that a one- way system is in operation. To most of us when asked what it indicates we might say “Covid restrictions”. That is the natural response. But that’s not how I heard it in my head on Wednesday. Instead I read it as “Christ Church….operates a One Way system”
Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life”; not a way, not one of the ways, but I am THE way. He completed the sentiment with “no one comes to the Father except through me”. Christ Church does operate a One Way system. The way of the I AM. Nothing else.
I am proud of that sign and I wish it to be truer every day!
That’s the what? What is the how. How do I know “the way”?
The final photo I took on Wednesday is of a painting. It was painted during the Carol Service in 2019. It depicts Jesus, the One Way, in the centre and the picture draws our eyes, and those of the figures in the foreground, to him. No one is looking left or right. All cast their gaze on the one in the centre of the picture.
How can we achieve this?
The psalmist wrote in Psalm 119 the following:
101 I have kept my feet from every evil path
so that I might obey your word.
102 I have not departed from your laws,
for you yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws.
Scripture and listening to God in prayer, prophecy and the accountability of gathering as a fellowship provide the yellow tape boundaries to keep us on the holy path and away from the “evil paths”. God’s words are sweet and we gain understanding. We grow in this ability to stay on the path. And the path itself is lit at our feet, step by step, not way off into the distance. The closer we come to him and listening to his word the brighter that light becomes. And if we can see the direction of every step, we do not need to know the way, for each step will be sure.
Let Christ Church be a One Way church.
Wishing you every blessing
Vicar@christchurchpurley.org.uk (if you are struggling with the prospect of society opening up again do get in touch to chat and pray).