Episode 1– The Journey
Welcome to the podcast
A church on the move
Recognizing the presence of God in your life
That’s a great place to start! We all know the story of Jesus… the angel came to Mary, Mary said yes, she and Joseph went for the census, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, fled to Egypt, grew up in Nazareth as a carpenter and in his early 30’s he was baptized, he gathered a group of apostles and disciples, and then started his ministry. The Bible is filled with lots of great parables and miracles and we know about the Last Supper and the Death and Resurrection of Jesus and all of these stories tell us about the life of Jesus. We also know some other things ABOUT Jesus: Son of God, Son of Mary, Our Savior… but knowing ABOUT someone is something we do with our head, but really KNOWING someone requires our heart to be involved and that type of interaction where a friendship is formed, changes us!
I was thinking of an everyday comparison and FACEBOOK came to mind. I have lots of “friends” on FACEBOOK and I know little things about their lives and their kids’ lives and what they are cooking and what diet they are trying and where they are vacationing, BUT I don’t “REALLY know them! The people I really know I have lunch with and I talk with them in person, we go for walks, we watch movies, we hang out and we share the ideas and fears and joys that we have, and it changes me… makes me more compassionate, loving, open, forgiving and that’s why being a disciple of Jesus is so important. To encounter Jesus, to spend time in speaking with him and listening for his voice through prayer, to be his student and model my life after him is to know him and it’s transformational!!
The other thing about discipleship is that it calls us to community. Our Western culture, particularly the culture of the U.S. is very much about individuality and making a go of it on our own and excelling and being the best, sometimes at the expense of others, but to be a true disciple of Jesus you need to live in the context of community. I think about Jesus… son of God.. God with us… Jesus could have lived out his mission without help from anyone HOWEVER that’s not what he did. After he was baptized, he called his group of apostles, those 12 men who were going to be part of a new way of looking at and living in the world and it wasn’t long before there was a whole community of people, disciples, who were sharing and living the message that Jesus was sharing and living… people who encountered Jesus and were changed!!
A question that I often hear from people including some of my own family members is ***Why do people need to follow Jesus, can’t they just be good people??? What is the definition of good? It is an arbitrary standard. What I think is good enough might be a pale comparison of what others think is good… but with Jesus, there isn’t a doubt about what it means to be good… love your enemy, feed the hungry, visit the imprisoned, clothe the naked, forgive, forgive, forgive, be merciful and the list goes on. Knowing Jesus informs us how to make decisions about our resources and our choices… knowing ABOUT Jesus doesn’t do that
Tell us about the new initiative the journey: So Why the Journey
Right now there are many programs with the goal of teaching about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and how to share the good news of Jesus with others, but THE JOURNEY was the first one that I encountered that started with ENCOUNTER!! It is actually a three “legged” journey. Leg 1 which we start the week of January 20 is about our personal encounter with Jesus. The other two legs which we will offer at later dates are encountering the community of Jesus and encountering Jesus’ way of life. I love how it starts with us as individuals knowing Jesus, moves us into community and then into a way of life. To be a disciple is to know Jesus and within the context of community to help to build the kingdom of God by sharing and living the good news. THE JOURNEY is structured to facilitate this process.
What should I expect?
The Journey is meant to be experienced in a small group setting so that as we are encountering and coming to know Jesus in a deeper way, we are also coming to know one another in a deeper way, not just a FACEBOOK friend kind of way. We are hosting two different formats for the process. On Monday and Wednesday Evenings we have parishioners who are opening up their homes to host a small group. On Tuesday afternoon, Kathy Doering has offered to host a small group at the parish center and on Tuesday evenings we will also gather at the parish center as a large group, but have small group table leaders who will facilitate our praying and sharing so that we still get the small group feel even in the midst of a larger gathering.
No matter which format you choose, the process is the same. We will always begin with time for checking in with one another about the events or our week. Getting to know each other little by little helps us to share a little easier about our faith experiences as we move farther into the lessons. Then we will listen to scripture and watch a short video. Each week we will encounter a person through the scripture and video who had a personal encounter with Jesus and was changed. Over the six weeks we will hear about the experiences of Mary, the woman who had suffered from hemorrhaging for 12 years and just wanted to touch the hem of Jesus’s garment, the man who carried his paralyzed friend to Jesus, the woman at the well, the apostle Philip at the Last Supper and the Centurion at the cross. We will relate the experiences of these people to our ever day life experiences. And then we share from our different perspectives. When we do this we help one another to see and hear new things about Jesus. We have time for quiet, reflective prayer and then we pray together for things that we are thankful for and any needs that we would like to have the group pray for. Each session closes with a time of hospitality which includes snacks of course.
The great thing about the JOURNEY is that it is a program for everyone… people who attend Mass every week and are very active in their faith, those who come to Mass occasionally, those who attend other churches and even those who aren’t too sure about the whole “Jesus thing” or have been reluctant to join a church of any kind. The Journey is a wonderful opportunity to walk the road of faith together and to share our experiences of that walk.
How do people sign up?
Sign up begins Sunday, January 6 at Mass. There will be registration forms by the baptismal font and at coffee and donuts. Take one with you or fill it out and leave it in the box right then and there. The form can also be found on line to be printed out or you can register electronically. However you register, make sure you grab or print out an extra form for your friends and family members. Forms can be brought back to Mass and put in the collection basket the weekend of January 12/13 or dropped off in the faith formation office at any time. There is a $10 registration fee that covers the cost of the participant manual as well as the daily devotional booklet. The $10 can be paid by cash or check or on line or by using the mobile giving app. If couples are signing up, it is best if each has their own manual since there are journaling opportunities and questions to be answered.
Date, time, location
As we mentioned earlier all of the sessions begin the week of January 20 and there are several options for location and days. Currently we have…
***Read selections from the registration form
***If anyone is interested in hosting a small group in their home or being a table leader for Tuesday nights, this can be indicated on the registration form. If you are already part of a small group that meets regularly we would love for you to use the program with your small group and journey along with us.
Why is THE JOURNEY important?
I believe that THE JOURNEY is important for several reasons:
- First of all, it guarantees that for 90 minutes a week I will be spending time listening to scripture, praying, growing in my faith, coming to know Jesus and building community. I make time for about 180 minutes of exercise each week to improve my physical health. I play solitaire on my computer and watch TV easily 90 minutes every day for entertainment. My spiritual health is certainly worthy of a concerted block of time each week as well.
- Secondly and maybe more importantly, by being part of THE JOURNEY I am experiencing what it means to be a disciple of Jesus in the context of community. I could read all kinds of books and watch all kinds of videos about what it means to be a disciple or how to grow as a disciple of Jesus on my own, but as I am listening to scripture and hearing how others are impacted by the stories, I am forming a wider understanding of who Jesus is and the life he calls me to. Seriously, the world is a hard place to navigate, but it’s easier and better when we do it together. Why are we here? What is our purpose in life? We are here because God loves us and our purpose is to love like God loves and Jesus was the one who showed us what that looks like. It’s simple but not easy. Our world is crazy and divisive and conflicted and devoid of peace and alone I can do very little to change that, but together we can do something to change it, but it starts with us coming together and getting to know each other in a deeper way. The way that Jesus calls us to, as his disciples. I just love the quote from Saint Mother Teresa where she says, “If we have no peace it’s because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
We do belong to each other and we are to care for each other. We strengthen each other for the mission and then we go and be Jesus to and for others in the world… but that’s for the next leg of the journey!