One of the names the early Church used for itself was “The Way”. We first read of it in The Acts of the Apostles (see: Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4, 24:14, 26). That may well be an extension of a use already found in the Old Testament (Isaiah 40:3; 40:10-11), where God’s people are seen being led in God’s Way. But it’s probably most influenced by Christ’s words in John’s Gospel — “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6); Christ claims to be the summing up of all that “The Way” means in relationship to God.
That’s quite a thought: in this Collect for the Second Sunday of Lent, we’re identifying with a movement, by name, that stretches back into history something like two thousand years, and it could quite possibly be considerably more.
We’re reminded too, in this Collect, that by following Christ’s Way we can look forward to sharing his glory. That’s his post-Easter glory, his resurrected glory. That’s what we, too, have to look forward to, following our own earthly death, resurrection to the glory of heaven; where we will be with God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — for all eternity.
I think we, as Christians, have lost something over the years by not using the name, “The Way”, more as a way of describing ourselves. “The Church” seems to be a little too solid, too stuck in one place, too much as if we’ve finished our journey, and too much as though it’s something for members only. Perhaps that’s because we have difficulty separating the church as a building from the Church as the people of God.
“The Way”, on the other hand, reminds us that we’re still on an amazing journey; a journey that anyone can still join us on because we’re still travelling, and haven’t yet arrived at our destination; a journey with Christ — the way, the truth, and the life — into eternal glory.
Will you join me on this journey, on The Way?
by the prayer and discipline of Lent
may we enter into the mystery of Christ’s sufferings,
and by following in his Way
come to share in his glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Additional Collect for The Second Sunday of Lent
is Copyright © The Archbishops Council