LIFE IS A PATH… NOT A BUCKET
Philippians 3:17-20 “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”
Paul is telling the Philippians to follow him because he is following Christ. Paul is on the right path and he wants to show others The Way. People who put worldly things above following God are condemned. A travel “bucket list” may list places that we travel through “On the Path”, but the reasons for visiting are probably different. The Way Anchor path travels through places to draw nearer to God through discovery, inspiration, and illustration. Checking something off a list implies an accomplishment, and a “been there done that approach” to selecting your next destination. In the end, it’s not an accounting of the places that you’ve been, it’s whether or not you were on the path that took you to the right destination. Jesus is The Way.
BREAK BREAD & SHARE WINE (OFTEN)
Acts 2:46 “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all people. And the Lord added to their numbers day by day those who were being saved.”
Jesus used bread and wine to give us his body and blood. Through bread and wine, the disciples brought others to Christ. Through this bread and wine, we remain in The Way with Jesus. The phrase “breaking bread” is universally understood to equate with sharing and hospitality. The same could be said for pouring wine for another. Way Anchor is about sharing. Sharing a meal, sharing wine, sharing travel experiences, and sharing the path. Jesus is The Way.
THEY WILL KNOW THAT WE ARE CHRISTIANS
John 13:34-35 (Jesus to the disciples) “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
A group traveling together with a common passion for the place that they are exploring, and having such a good time doing so, draws the attention of others. We are ambassadors of our Christian faith. Our presence together alone is enough to evangelize, because they will know that we are Christians by our love, as well as by both our laughter and our seriousness.
WALK IN THE LIGHT
1 John 1:6-7 “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Traveling to a Christian site (pilgrimage) doesn’t make you a Christian. Many cathedrals feel more like museums than churches. Traveling to non-religious sites or even pagan temples doesn’t make you a non-Christian. It is our purpose that makes us Christian. Sometimes we travel to take a break from routine; we go on vacation. The goal is to download the negative from our lives, and then hopefully, upload some positive. Stay in the Light, stay on the Path.
SITE-SEEING VS. SIGHT-SEEING
2 Corinthians 5:7 “for we walk by faith not by sight.
Every site that is detailed on this website can be “seen” … right here…. on your computer. Through modern media, every site around the world can be “seen” and researched. This is what we refer to as “just bricks”. Sight is only one of our senses. By visiting a place ourselves, we engage all of our senses. We touch a place where perhaps Jesus touched. We taste local foods. We smell local smells (odors or aromas, depending on the location). We talk and listen to locals, guides, and each other. And of course, we see (sometimes from different angles). But even if we lack some of these senses, it’s not about just seeing some bricks and checking a site of our list, it’s about experiencing a place, and enjoying life “on the path”.
WE LEARN A LOT OF OFF THE WALL STUFF
John 6:43-45 “Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, “And they will all be taught by God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me--“
The Bible is the Word of God given to us by God so that we may learn and know Him. Today, you can read The Bible. You can listen to It being read on tape, CD, TV, computer or live. You can see It acted out on TV, movies, internet, or live. And there are entire bookstores full of works to help you interpret and dissect The Bible. However, if you were illiterate and lived a thousand years ago, your options were much more limited. There was the local minister, and there was art, which was mostly found on the walls of the cathedral. The paintings, mosaics, sculptures, and stained glass that you see in churches around the world were created in large part as teaching tools. Some art is so beautiful that it can actually distract the viewer from its message. St Chapelle’s in Paris has so much stained glass that on a sunny day, it’s like being inside a kaleidoscope. However, if you took the time to look at every panel of glass (it’s a lot), you could learn the stories of nearly the entire Bible. Way Anchor travelers learn a lot of stuff that’s “Off the Wall”.
BELIEVING IS SEEING
Luke 18;41-43 (Jesus and a blind man near Jericho) Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he came near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight, your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.”
Every site comes with a back story. Almost every site comes with controversy. Every story has detractors who question the authenticity of location, or relics, or miracles, or historical corroboration, or even the spiritual value and intent. No evidence exists that will make a non-believer believe. But that is not the purpose of seeing a place, it’s just looking at bricks. Most relics are inauthentic, many locations are misplaced, and some stories of saints and miracles are not true. But if we accept the back story, draw inspiration from our experience, and grow in faith, we will “see” what is important. We “see” because of our faith. We don’t have faith because of evidence that we see.
Luke 8:9-10 “And when his disciples asked Him what this parable meant, he said, “To you has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.”
Jesus spoke in parables so that those who didn’t know God could understand. In order to communicate with others, we need to know about them and the things that they understand. As travelers, everything we learn about other cultures helps us relate to all people. This includes learning about history as well as current events, language, food, customs, and even other religions. You can’t relay an idea to someone using a parable that only you understand.
SHOW ME A SIGN
John 20: 30 “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples which are not written in this book (The Bible); but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
Signs of faith in Jesus are everywhere. People wear jewelry, t-shirts with messages, and even tattoos that show their faith. People put symbols of Christ in their yards and on their front doors. They put fish emblems, crosses, and bumper stickers on their cars, or even hang rosaries from their rear-view mirrors. Some non-religious businesses such as restaurants, auto shops, or retail locations will display a verse of the day or have a plaque on the wall that shows their Christian faith, even though this may alienate some customers. Church crosses are beacons to entire areas of the city, sometimes being visible from places where such displays are not permitted (i.e. a giant cross on top of a church across the street from a public school). In many small towns across America and Europe, the oldest and largest building in the town is the church building. There is no power or magic in any of these objects, but the Way Anchor traveler knows that when they see one of these, that at some point, someone was inspired by God to hang that sign, erect that cross, build that church, or slap that bumper sticker on their car. It’s the back story that inspires rather than the object itself.
BEYOND JUST BRICKS
Acts 17: 24-25 (Paul in Athens) “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”
God is everywhere, but He is no more present or less present in a brick that is used to build a cathedral than in a brick used to build a house. We are awed by architecture, art, and the grandeur of nature, but we are inspired by the spirit of God that created these things.