Hearing or reading the phrase, “This is the way” immediately transports many people to a galaxy far, far away. It is the catchphrase of Din Djarin, aka “Mando,” the main character in Disney’s show The Mandalorian. Set in the Star Wars family of lore, the show tells tales of Baby Yoda, Boba Fett, Beskar, and Blasters.
Mando is a bounty hunter who lives by his code with a nigh-religious fervor. In the episodes, he often chooses a path forward and repeats his mantra: “This is the way.” You get the distinct impression that his choices are easier to make because his code serves as an internal, ethical compass. He knows the way; he knows what he must do.
I remember a song from my early days of churchgoing that said, “I’m in the way, the bright and shining way/I’m in the glory-land way.” I started singing that song on a regular basis in the same time period that the original Star Wars movie hit the screens. And, as surely as the Star Wars franchise is still mining gold by exploring paths and codes you can live by (the way to the dark side, the Jedi way, the Mandalorian way, etc.), I am still finding blessings in all of the ways that Jesus is The Way (Jn. 14:6).
Biblically, this is a beautiful metaphor for walking with God and following Jesus. In the Acts of the Apostles, we find out that “the Way” is the primary designation for the early church. Those who opposed the church put down the Way as a heretical, dangerous sect. On the other hand, the Way is the chief name that the church uses for itself. I’ll show you a few examples in Acts.
“The Way” in Acts
- In 9:2 Saul wanted to arrest “followers of the Way”
- In 18:26, Priscilla and Aquila heard Apollos and then “invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately”
- In 19:9 “some stubbornly refused to believe and spoke evil of the Way”
- In 22:4 Paul looks back and says “I persecuted this Way up to the point of death by binding both men and women and putting them in prison”
- In 24:14 Paul says (while he is on trial): “I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way”
- In 24:22 notes that Felix “was well acquainted with the Way”
What was happening then is still happening today. Some people are trying to block the way, attempting to thwart God’s will; others are getting in on what God is doing and following the Way. We each get to choose our path forward. We each get to say, “This is the way” when it comes to how we will live.
So, I will leave you with another line from that old gospel hymn I learned as a child: “Telling the world that Jesus saves today/Yes, I’m in the glory-land way.” We sang it with enthusiasm, and then tried to go out and live up to our task of spreading the good news about the Way.
Are you in the glory-land way? Whom are you going to tell about Jesus, the Way? The early church set a great example for us. The faithful followers from the ancient past point the way forward. I can almost hear them nudging us, urging us: “This is the Way.”