The Bible is also full of stories and ideas about “walking together” or “journeying together.” God did not intend for man to be alone from the beginning, which is why he provided him with a suitable partner. He made them in His likeness and image. God intended for them to walk alongside him, collaborate with him, and be in communion with him, particularly in the task of caring for the rest of his creation. When sin entered, however, such a relationship began to fall apart. God’s love and mercy, on the other hand, led him to restore the path of unity by establishing a covenant with them. The Lord carried out this plan by summoning Abraham and his descendants, from whom God’s people were formed. On Mount Sinai, God made a covenant with them and made them a part of God’s community. God’s first call for a synod was made in this newly formed community or assembly.
The members of this community were tested and strengthened by their shared experience as they were led by God through the ministry of Moses and other groups or individuals who were given special roles such as the Judges, the Elders, and the Levites. The assembly of God’s people includes not only men, but also women, children, and even foreigners.
In the New Testament, Jesus is always on a journey. He shares God’s truth and love with everyone. Through his significant encounter with them, he expresses his deep concern for the people. He listens to them with compassion and love. Jesus is accessible to the greatest number of people, referred to as “crowds” in the Gospels. These are the people who follow him down the path in the hope of finding salvation. He goes to the outcasts, the poor, the downcast, the sick, the widows, the orphans, the physically incapable, the oppressed, the sinners, and also to the gentiles who have expressed deep faith in him, such as the Canaanite woman and the Roman Centurion. This is a synodal manifestation of Jesus’ ministry.He gathers those who trust him, walks with them, and listens to them. Like the two disciples on their way to Emmaus, they are joined by the resurrected Christ, who walks with them, explains the scriptures to them, and is recognized through the breaking of the bread. Jesus’ constant desire is to bring together the scattered children of God. This is the unity for which Jesus prayed to the Father: “that they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me”.
The power and authority that Jesus received from His Father are also shared with his apostles after his resurrection, when he sends them to teach the nation by baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything he had commanded. As a result of their baptism, every member of God’s people receives a share of this authority, which manifests itself in various spiritual gifts and charisms. These are intended to bear for the benefit of all.
In the Act of the Apostles, the disciples discern the will of the Lord by listening to the voice of the Spirit in order to carry out their various roles. The Council of Jerusalem mentioned earlier in this document, is a pivotal episode in the early church that exemplifies this community discernment.
In Jerusalem, an assembly was called, and discussion and debate ensued until the council reached a unanimous decision. This arose as a result of communal discernment guided by the Holy Spirit. The act of gathering, listening, and discerning as a community in which everyone plays an active role through their various roles and contributions exemplifies the concept of journeying together, which could serve as a paradigm for a synodal approach.