And a highway will be there and it shall be called the way of holiness (Isaiah 35:8)
I am captured by verse 8 from today’s reading. I suppose it is because it brings out the complex meanings of the simple word ‘way.’ Eugene Peterson explains it this way, “way: a simple noun designating a road that leads to a destination but then opening up as a metaphor that ramifies into many and various “ways” – not only the way we go, as in the route we take but the way we go on the way whether by foot or bike or automobile. The way we talk, the way we use our influence, the way we treat another, the way we raise our children, the way we read, the way we worship, the way we vote, the way we garden, the way we ski, the way we feel, the way we eat…And on and on, endlessly, the various and accumulated “ways and means” that characterize our way of life.”
Wow. Can I sum that up? Our path in life is determined by two things. First, the road we follow, and second the method or style in which we follow it. While I often think about the road that I am on, I rarely think about how I follow it. Both are worth our consideration.
Think first about the road you want to follow. What’s at the end of it? The pearly gates? Successful children? $1,000,000? We pursue all manner of goals, some worthy and some not so much. Yes, pick the right goal, but be careful. This life is lived every day, not just on the last day. What you do in between matters.
So, how do you want to follow the road? Grumpy? Enthusiastic? Singing and dancing? When I picture myself on the road to heaven, I see myself skipping and jumping like a little kid. He’s enjoying the walk, with a smile on his face. I see laughter and singing and sunshine. I see holiness. If I know where I am headed, why should it be any different?
Eugene H. Peterson. The Jesus Way. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 2007