Faith Community

Faith Community

‘When the forms of an old culture are dying, the new culture is created by a few people who are not afraid to be insecure.’  Rudolph Bahro

 

As a faith community we have been – and are – united in our Christian beliefs which are expressed in a variety of ways and spiritualities. We should not be in an escapist, nostalgic quest for a golden era that didn’t exist, or merely trying to replicate the past. Instead, informed by our heritage (traditions) we endeavour to live out our faith in present day culture. We seek to be inspired by the God we serve, filled by the presence of the Holy Spirit in order to find ways to engage with the paradox and complexities of real life. This is what it means to ‘Worship’!

 

It is all too easy to say that God doesn’t change, and therefore neither should we. That somehow misses the point. The world in which we live changes, and therefore the Gospel needs to be presented and resonate with each new generation. That means to embrace, explore and express the heart of God in the everyday ordinariness of our lives and spiritually relate our faith to the world of today. Does this make you feel insecure?

 

Metanoia.

In Greek this literally means “change of mind”. In the New Testament the word is often translated as “repentance”. Yet this is not about regret, guilt or shame; it implies making a decision to turn around, to face a new direction. That kind of ‘conversion’ can make us feel very insecure as we step out of our comfort zone and begin to understand life differently.

 

Our 2020Vision is not simply about the parish centre at St Johns, but building on a history of serving the community and sharing Good News. 2020Vision is evangelistic in as much as we should become better equipped both by a new centre and our own ongoing faith development to offer fresh ways of engaging with the community. The Gospel may be the same as it was 100 years ago, or even a 1000 years ago, but it is expressed, explored, lived and understood very differently today.

 

When Jesus quoted Isaiah 61 (Luke 4: 18) he outlined a mandate for change.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free”.

 

Same old, same old was not good enough for Jesus, and neither should it be good enough for us.  We live in an indisputable beautiful place, but hidden behind some doors are people who are lonely and isolated, some struggling with debt, some with grave illness, some with addictions, depression or broken relationships. Some feel marginalised because of the way they look, or dress or because of their sexuality. Whatever, if the Gospel is good enough for me, then it is good enough for everyone else too and we should always depart from that which cuts people off from Jesus, because that is oppression. Instead, God calls us to be a church with wide open welcoming arms!

 

Vincent-de-Paul was a 17th Century French priest who dedicated himself to serving the poor and was renowned for his compassion, humility and generosity. His personal spiritual discipline was to see “Christ in all people” no matter what! In 1882 Wilson Carlile founded The Church Army, who’s personal spirituality was “To go for the worst”.  Now there’s a thought!

 

Lord, give to all your people a heart of compassion

that by word and action they may serve you in serving others in their need;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.