One of the things I really want to focus on during these last three or four weeks until Easter is prayer. My prayer life over the last couple of months has been difficult. I’ve been aware of God’s presence with me at times; what I mean is, I’ve been aware that God is here, and so I guess I have rested in his presence, just sat with Him. Which has been fine.
Over the next few weeks I’d like to be a little more disciplined in my regular prayer times, the Offices. These times give me a gentle structure to my days, help me to step back and offer my ministry back to God. I find it too easy to be distracted by my agenda and that of those around me. I am being reminded often that this whole project is God’s, and no-one elses.
I’ve begun reading a book that my colleague Tim gave me for Christmas, I Have Called You Friends… by Kevin L. Thew Forrester. The main thrust of the book is about ‘mutual ministry’: ministry and baptism are different sides of the same coin.
In the book Kevin argues that Church is not a place of hierarchy but friendship and mutuality. We are all called to be students, vulnerable and willing always to learn and share with one another. We are called to be a family, and a family modelled on this type of equality and mutuality, where diversity is not tolerated but treasured and celebrated.
We are the friends of God. How fantastic is that! “Jesus gathered friends about him from the start of his ministry. They learned from each other, argued with each other, betrayed and forgave. They learned that there is no greater gift than to lay down their lives for one another.” (p. vii)
It is this kind of mutuality and friendship that I would love to see reflected in our Church today.
A very happy and blessed Christmas to all our readers. And a guid new year, too.
Feel free to download and read my Midnight Mass sermon, which was preached at St Salvador’s, Stenhouse.
Midnight Mass Sermon 2003, PDF (94 KB)
I’ve had some amazing conversations with people over the last couple of weeks about God, faith and the Church. Many of these conversations have taken place during Join Me activities. I am increasingly of the opinion that I do not have a problem with Church — that is the meeting together of people in Jesus’ name — but I do have issues with the Church, the institution.
I wish the Church didn’t focus so much on itself, on the mechanics and politics of how it will keep itself financed and organised, and instead gave more energy towards how to encourage and resource people in their spiritual journeys, helping them to know themselves better, fulfil their potential and support them in their relationship with God and with one another.
How do we — those already in the Church — help bring this change about? How do we help people’s focus to shift?
I’m preaching on Sunday about the use of liturgical colours in the Scottish Episcopal Church. I’ve produced a calendar showing the colours for next year (2003-04); remember the liturgical year begins on the First Sunday of Advent, which this year is November 30. You may download the calendar, in PDF format.
Liturgical Calendar for SEC, PDF (80 KB)