Journey is one of the great themes of religious life – from Moses and the Exodus, to Jesus going to face the Cross in Jerusalem, to the missionary exploits of St Paul.
These are metaphors for our passage through this life.
In fact, I understand that the early followers of Jesus were called “People of the Way” before they were nicknamed “Christians”.
The Basis of Union, the foundational document of the Uniting Church in Australia, picks up this motif in its last paragraph.
The People of God on the Way.
The Uniting Church affirms that it belongs to the people of God on the way to the promised end. The Uniting Church prays that, through the gift of the Spirit, God will constantly correct that which is erroneous in its life…Para 18
So what image of journey?
I wonder whether those who take the exclusivist view that Jesus is the only way to God have a “container” image of theology? What is important to them is to get all the “good oil” on board for the journey. So ‘getting it right’ and packing are important preoccupations for them.
On the other hand, I think I take the backpack image – love god, love neighbour – that’s enough! Enjoy but hang loose to the rest. ‘Getting it right’ happens along the journey within the context of the journey.
The other great thing about the backpack image is that my hands are free. My ‘load’ is not exclusive. I can hold other hands.
I guess all this must make me a fundamentalist if the fundamentals are love!