Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Old reliable paths

We want to walk along those those old reliable paths the ancient Waldensians walked.

Today, the greatest part of those who call themselves Waldensians prefer to walk along the crowded wide roads of this world. The Bible, nevertheless, says: "There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way that leads to death" (Proverbs 14:12).

Thus says the Lord: "You are standing at the crossroads. So consider your path. Ask where the old, reliable paths are. Ask where the path is that leads to blessing and follow it. If you do, you will find rest for your souls." (Jeremiah 6:16)

On our mountains in Valle Pellice, there are the paths which our ancestors made that are now left abandoned. "They are not useful anymore", we hear people saying. "..."Too much effort. We would move on them too slowly. They are not practical. The old mountaineers' life does not belong to us anymore". Nowadays there are tunnels cut under the mountains, motorways, high speed trains, large cities... It's called progress. Everybody runs, all together. What a company! It's easy. It's popular. It's "The thing to do". Everybody runs. Where do they run to? Towards the final disaster. In every sense.

The modern Waldensian church, with some other churches, has largely abandoned the old paths. They continue to show these old paths in museums for visitors to marvel at. They celebrate these old paths once a year. They tell us: "From these we have evolved. Our ancestors' faith is old fashioned and inadequate. The Bible itself," they say, must be "reinterpreted, revised, in order to adapt it to modern thought"... "We have to follow the modern trends and update ourselves...".

Where are they running to? Towards the final disaster. Modernity certainly entails advantages, but Waldo and Calvin's faith is not outdated! The old Confessions of Faith were not time-bound but resumed eternally valid principles and protect us from ever recurring errors.

We want to clean up, to do "maintenance" on the paths and continue to walk along those old paths, not run with the masses and fall off the cliff of disaster. We want to reach high peaks not plunge down into the depths, with all the others.

It does not matter if we are few. It is our determination to inquire about old and trustworthy paths and walk along them. It does not matter whether they are hard, difficult, unpractical or forsaken. We will volunteer to repair and maintain them, both the old ways of believing and even the paths themselves.
  • They are the paths of faithfulness to the Word of God. Even if it may seem to us out of step with the world, we will "contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude 3).
  • They are the paths of non-conformity with the world. "Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect." (Romans 12:2).
  • They are the paths of self-denial. "Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27).
  • They are the paths of knowledge and discernment. "The wisdom of the shrewd person is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deception" (Proverbs 14:8); the way of spiritual maturity: "For though you should in fact be teachers by this time, you need someone to teach you the beginning elements of God’s utterances. You have gone back to needing milk, not solid food." (Hebrews 5:12).
  • They are the paths of order and discipline. "...for God is not characterized by disorder but by peace" (1 Corinthians 14:33); "And do everything in a decent and orderly manner" (1 Corinthians 14:40).
We need people of courage and boldness who say no to a church compromised with the world, as the old Waldensians did.  Those who can work in order to offer an alternative, worthy of our ancestors in the faith. We are back walking on those old paths. If you want to join us and stay in our company, you are more than welcome! We cannot and will not promise that it will be easy, but with the help of God's grace we will carry on to the heights and to the end.

1 comment:

  1. I just "found" you as I am researching my grandmother's family. We believe she was Wadensians that came to New York in 1912. She always told us they came for a new start and to get away from religious persecution. Her father was an itinerate preacher that sold the cheeses they made. I am fascinated with finding the old roads as I have always felt out of the loop in my walk - set apart for Christ and not of this world. Thank you for writing this blog and I look forward to researching even more. Her family was the Geymonat family.