Over the last twenty years, I have delved into deeper, more ancient understandings of the Christian journey, wandering in and out of an eclectic mainstream of traditions while steering firmly from my own tribal barque. The cross-cultural backwaters of orthodoxy, medieval contemplative mystics, holistic Celtic fervour, spiritual direction, the beauty of some sacred textual translations from Aramaic, and the stimulation of the progressive intellectual stream – all have fed and nurtured my rather ordinary suburban ministry in a small but vibrantly engaged congregation.
The last five days seem to have brought it all together, not as a conclusion, but a further launching pad. Time spent with visiting author, Alexander Shaia, in seminars, worship and retreat, have drawn these dabblings forth and fitted them to a reframing of a familiar journey. He calls it Quadratos: the Four Gospel Journey for Radical Transformation. Mining deeply from his ancient Lebanese Christian heritage, Alexander Shaia employs the disciplines of theology, anthropology and psychology to uncover an inherent wisdom in the choice and placement of the four gospels that the ancient church used in a universal way of addressing the human journey. While the journey is universal across the stories of many cultures, the Christian journey has five particular keys that unlock its mysteries and engage the human quest for transformation. This ancient understanding, once lost, is now in the slow process of being recovered.
Lent is indeed a journey of joyous discovery as one treads the hard road.