“The final common pathway” – those words literally popped into my head yesterday. Christ is the “final common pathway.” I drew myself some pictures – visual artist I’m not but lines I can do – of one common path into which poured all the other paths. The common path was thick and straight and true. And it ended in God, the Father.
Now I struggle daily with all the fisticuffs and wrangling that goes on among the various faith practices. The quarreling and the posturing and the comparisons and the proof texts. I know what I believe but I am aware that saying, “Christ as the only way” may step on some toes. And, above all else, I don’t want to make another person stumble in their journey of faith.
That’s when the “final common pathway” hit me. It’s funny because these words are not faith words, but science words. I recognized them from the years I taught anatomy and physiology. The final common pathway referred to the alpha motor neuron, the final neuron that received all the input from the brain and the lower nervous system. It was the collecting point and summation point of all the electrical input. If the incoming signal was strong enough (above threshold), the motor neuron would fire and the muscle unit would be activated. If it was “below threshold,” the motor neuron would not fire and the muscle would stay at rest. It was a collecting point that became an all or none phenomenon.
The motor neuron was the final common pathway for the body’s discernment.
What strikes me today is not the “neatness” of this message but the language. That God, knowing my mental meanderings, would pluck from days past a concept He could use to address a difficult issue for me. Imagine, He knows all that I know and all that I think and all I understand and he plucks from this the illustration He wishes to use to speak to me today.
What if I trusted that any question I have He will answer using insight He already has placed within me? That he anticipated even my doubt and fear and reluctance.
A God like that is the kind of God who paves a final common pathway, even Christ, knowing we will choose many paths in our journeying.
Oh, just imagine. On that day, we will walk in a broad and flat place. It will be smooth and unhurried. No one will jostle for position. No one will run ahead. Once we step over the threshold our activation is secured, our destination assured.
Will it be silent? Will there be chattering? Will we hear music? Singing? What will we see? smell? Perhaps there will be nourishment? Springs? What will we feel? Will there be hugging and holding of hands? Or a sensation of being held or drawn forward?
I am imagining it will be a whole body experience and a whole out of body experience. I can’t even imagine what my heart will do with it all. But I know where it will rest.
Today, that seems a good path, a right path. A path toward which I can invite everyone, not offending anyone. I’ve been looking for a path like that.