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Walking the Way (February 2018)

Dear Friends,  

If you’ve been in church recently you’ll have heard us starting to talk and think about “Walking the Way – Living the life of Jesus today.”

This is not a course or a defined process … but a question arising from the soul-searching life of the URC across the UK … as, in fellowship with all our churches we seek to renew our discipleship and encourage one another as followers of Jesus.

A ‘disciple’. Do you think of yourself as a disciple of Jesus Christ?

The word is best understood as finding it’s meaning somewhere between ‘learner’ and ‘follower’ – or as it has been said, a disciple is someone who learns AS they follow. A poet wrote : - ‘the road is made by walking’. Which is quite a good reflection on what it is to be a disciple of Jesus. It’s someone who steps out into the world of today, with all they have learned about life from Jesus, and makes the road ahead.

In preparation for the ‘Walking the Way – living the life of Jesus today’ movement within the URC, the planning group asked a selection of people, some of whom were not part of the Christian community, two questions.

First, they asked – What would you expect to see in the life of someone who says they are a Christian? … and people responded saying - someone who follows the Bible; honesty and respect for others; honesty and contentment; a radiance, that brings something good to the lives of others; generous and kind; an open heart and an open home; not perfection but compassion and empathy. 

The second question was – What do you think churches are for in the world today? … and people responded saying – for humankind – all humans; making community; peer support, continued…
people you can rely on and check yourself with; a respectful space for people; guidance and answers; a place to meet with God and worship the risen saviour.

There are some challenging ideas in these reflections. But I guess that even more challenging for us would be for each one of us to reflect upon those questions ourselves and share them with the family, friends and neighbours we know. How is a Christian, and the gathered company of the followers of Jesus we call the church, seen and understood in our part of the world? Both by those within, and beyond, the church?

Lent is, of course, the season of the Christian year when we give ourselves, as individuals and together, the challenge of deepening our thinking, praying and acting in the world as disciples, followers, of Jesus. This year, during Lent, there will be a varied menu of opportunities to do something together with fellow Christians that leads us to grow in our discipleship. You’ll read more in this Newsletter and there will be more news of activity through Lent in the next few weeks.

For now though, let me share a prayer, offered for the ‘Walking the Way’ journey, an invitation to grow in your discipleship ….

“God of all,
as Jesus walked this earth sharing love, grace and mercy,
he fed the hungry with the bread of life
and brought healing and hope to those he met.
Renew us through the gift of the Holy Spirit
so that we may do likewise.
As we set out on the exciting, yet daunting,
journey of discipleship,
we pray that we will place our footsteps in yours
and walk where you lead
as we live seek to live out your life in our daily living,
for Jesus’ sake. Amen.”