“What does this mean?” That’s the quintessential Lutheran question–and needs to be a hallmark of who we are in the 21st century. But the reasons for that await another blog.
For now, that question is pointed specifically at this blog and its chosen title. The intent of this blog is to foster a conversation among people who wonder what it means to follow Jesus in the 21st century. The title refers to the early church as it’s described in Acts, a traditional movement within Judaism centered in Jerusalem, but perpetually being transformed as it moved to Antioch and beyond.
The first century was much more like the 21st century than different from it. Broad cultural change, the impact of technological developments, and diversifying spiritual movements and shifting religious allegiances all joined the age-old tensions between insiders and outsiders, fear and hope, even life and death, to confront the early Christian faith as it struggled to hold to its Jerusalem essentials while adapting for the sake of mission on the road to Antioch.
The banner image above is one I love–a solitary pilgrim along a road somewhere on the high plains of Nebraska. A hundred or more years ago, pioneers traversed those plains, heading in trust to a place beyond the horizon, assuming neither that the journey nor the destination would be comfortable, but trusting that they were headed to a future filled with opportunity. Two millennia ago, our ancestors in the faith did the same thing, heading toward the ends of the earth with a message that compelled them forward. The Nebraska pioneers and the early Christian apostles alike adapted, adjusted and acclimated to new contexts and new cultures, never surrendering their core identity nor yielding to despair.
We are the heirs of their faithful journeys, and the heirs of their mission to continue the apostolic and pioneering call to move toward God’s horizon. Our destination is Antioch–the places where we live, work and play. There we hand on to others the good news of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a Jerusalem gift to Antioch’s needs.
Welcome to the journey!