Saturday, March 24, 2012

How we can help in Living God's Love

Now the blog is up and running, I've been thinking about its contribution to the church and what we're trying to achieve with it. During the process of setting up the blog I was asked to consider Bishop Alan's Living God’s Love plan, launched in January 2011.  For those unfamiliar with the plan, here's a summary taken directly from the official Living God's Love website.

"Living God’s Love is an invitation to walk together on a journey, to look with fresh eyes and explore new ways of life and mission and discover new things about God, ourselves and the world.

Living God's Love is a call to journey;

  • to go deeper into God,
  • to work in partnership to transform communities and
  • to walk alongside others on their road into discipleship."

The Blog is a great tool to help in achieving all of these things. It strikes me as a truly fresh approach to discussion about God and the world around us. It could hardly fit that part of the brief better. :)

The blog is also a great chance for us to go deeper into God through our interactions with one another here on this page. By discussing the various posts together, and in trying to apply a prayerful, considerate attitude in our discussions, we can all help one another move deeper into God. I am certainly looking forward to taking part!

Likewise, we have an opportunity to work together and help address our community (and those further afield perhaps) in a whole new way. Setting the blog up has been a group effort born out of a desire to find new ways of reaching out to existing and new members of our church and beyond, spreading the Word.

As the posts start coming in it's my hope we'll attract comments from all kinds of people; members of the congregation or those who are simply curious about St. Michaels and our worship. I hope, too, that visitors' comments can steer the topics of discussion so we can best serve the community by talking about the things people feel are most relevant.

Finally, the blog is clearly a great opportunity to reach out beyond the walls of our church and make contact with the wider community, especially (given the nature of the medium!) younger people curious about the Christian faith. The blog can and should be a place where we apply our beliefs to the events happening around us and discuss them with one another.

I hope people starting out on their journey with God feel able to come here, comment on the posts and see how they can apply Christian principles to their own lives and the lives of those around them.

Please let us know how you think the blog could be used and the kinds of topics you'd like to see discussed.

Thanks for now. :)

For more information about Living God's Love and the Diocese of St Albans see:

Saturday, March 10, 2012

When to be a shining pebble...

I am picking up on the thread of Jonathan's last comment on the 'Are we doing enough to protect our freedom?' blog, because I thought it was worth a new blog thread.

Jonathan - Thanks for your thought-provoking comment and the beautiful image of the shining pebble. I suppose the key thing, as you say, is whether we are attuned to be ready to hear when we are in a situation where God is calling us to do something special or different or particular, and if we can discern what it is that we are being called to. I guess in some circumstances that may be something dramatic and life-changing or even life-threatening, as with the example of the Syrian person you refer to. And then it must be extraordinarily difficult to decide between the claims of doing something brave and principled and standing up against oppression and the claims of protecting your loved ones from harm and danger. I find that one of the hardest teachings of Jesus that I find difficult to accept is the one about how following him can involve setting family members against each other and can bring division. I guess I just hope that I am never put in a position where that happens.

But in other circumstances I think the call may be less clear and the situation less extreme, and I suppose it may be less obvious that we are being called to make some decision or to follow some course.

I am interested in what Jesus's approach was to those that followed him but who went back to their ordinary lives after their encounter with him. For example Zacchaeus the tax collector, who entertained Jesus to a meal and promised to change his ways. Did he manage to do so? Did he become one of the early Christians after Jesus's death and resurrection or did he carry on being a faithful Jew?

I suppose that what I am thinking is that most of the time our lives are ordinary and routine and somewhat unremarkable and that we are not called to make life-changing or life-threatening decisions on a daily basis (thank goodness), but we still need to find the calling of God in the everyday and humdrum, and to respond as best we can....