(a roman mile marker from the city of Capernaum, Galilee with the words "VIA MARIS" or "way of the sea," a main travel and trade route through ancient Israel.)

 

VIA, the name

 

The name "via" comes from the Latin which means "the way" or "by way of." It is an ablative form of "via," which means "way, road, channel, course." It is also from the French "viable" which means "capable of life" (1539), from "vie," "life" (from the Latin vita "life;") . [1]

 

There are 5 reasons why this name fits my life and work.

 

1. The early followers of Jesus were not originally called "Christians" (a title that comes later at Antioch, cf. Acts 11:26). Rather, they were known as a Jewish sect called "The Way" (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 24:14, 22). Understanding that the roots of Christianity are in the Jewish world ensures that we are connecting and aligning with the original intent of the movement and revolution of Jesus. As Jesus study undergoes continual rigorous attention, it is becoming more evident that he was advancing a new way of bringing about God's Kingdom, i.e. God's rule and reign here on earth. This "Way" would not be characterized by power, authoritarianism, conquest, or fear, but rather by the radical command to love God, neighbor, self, one another, and enemy.

 

The name "VIA" is my commitment to walking in "The Way."

 

2. Jesus called himself "The Way." (John 14:6) This may be an allusion to Deuteronomy 5:33, as part of the inauguration of a new way of life and Kingdom.

 

The name "VIA" identifies me as a follower of "The Way."

 

3. A main trade route through ancient Israel is now called the "Via Maris" [2] [by way of the sea (דרך הים)] (See Isaiah 9:1-2). Ancient societies relied upon the Via Maris for trade and commerce. It is significant to recognize that the land of Israel, the stories of the Bible, and the events of Judeo-Christian history are located at the crossroads of the world, nestled and settled in the center of the Fertile Crescent.

 

The name "VIA" locates me as living on "The Way."

 

4. The word "via" in American English just simply means "through the medium or agency of" (m-w.com, s.v. "via") or "by a route that touches or passes through; by way of:..." (dictionary.com, s.v. "via") The "agency" or "medium" or "route" is not the destination, nor the glory of the travel. Rather, the "way" is merely a conduit, a means through which you get to a destination or goal. The name "via" could also be understood as a carrier service, e.g., sending a piece of mail via the USPS.

 

The name "VIA" commissions me to be a servant of people's journey, by getting myself out of "The Way."

 

5. Philosophically, I believe life is a journey, a path to be traversed upon, step by step.

 

The name "VIA" reminds me to enjoy and take advantage of every step along "The Way."

 

[1] cf. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=via&searchmode=none

[2] cf. Isaiah 9:1 (8:23 בתנייך; Matthew 4:15. There is some debate about this name and even its location. cf. The Jewish Virtual LibraryWikipedia, and The Sacred Bridge, 165.

 

2020