Early Christians were known as people who followed the trail. The early name for Christians was people of The Way. “The Way” is the name Jesus gave himself in the Gospel of John when Thomas asks him “How can we know the way?” Jesus says, “I am the way” (14:5-6). The way is a difficult trail to follow. The Beatitudes give a glimpse of the people Jesus is calling us to become. A glimpse of what it means to live as if we are already within the kingdom of God. Jesus spoke these words when he was himself on a journey. The crowds were beginning to follow him. He found a quiet place on a hillside and began teaching the way:
This version of the Beatitudes really makes you think of the new attitude you are being called to have while you live in a manner that will bring the kingdom closer and allow you to draw near to God. This path seems difficult and dangerous. In fact to follow the way may lead you to place your very life in danger by sharing a truth that makes the rest of the world uncomfortable. To follow Jesus makes us uncomfortable. But the journey on the way leads us to places and views that we never would have seen if we had not set out on the journey. As followers of the way: we come together to learn so that we can be sent out to teach, we are gathered to be blessed so we can be sent out as a blessing to the world. We gather to be refreshed and empowered by the Spirit so that we can go back out into the world as Jesus kind voice, loving hands, smiling eyes, and healing touch. And where we are sent, we encounter the most beautiful experience we have ever had. Like the journey my family had in Yellowstone, when you set out on the way you never know what the view near the end will be.