01 Feb Vicars’ Blog – Feb 2017 – Jesus is…
Jesus is _________________
One bold church did a Face book survey asking anyone who lived in their town to complete the sentence saying who Jesus was for them. As you might expect, they got some weird and wonderful answers. Some quite sad, some quite rude, and some rather beautiful and others inspirational. I think their main point was to prompt people to think about the person of Jesus and maybe even to encourage people to return to their Bibles and find out more about Jesus.
This is our very focus at St Mary’s and St John’s over the next three months: to be looking at the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and so to learn more about who Jesus is. If we want to get to know someone better, we can talk to them and listen, we can spend time with them and ask them questions. If they are not nearby, we can read their letters and even if they are no longer alive, we can read the books or poetry or songs they wrote. The best way to get to know Jesus better is to read his story in the gospels and to talk to him in prayer. Alongside the sermons, we could read a whole gospel, such as Mark, as if it were a blog of Jesus’ daily life, and imagine we were on the road with him.
In the January edition, we introduced Ken Shigematsu’s book God in My Everything in which he proposes a system of organising the main elements of our lives so that we are prioritising God first in everything. The Ten Commandments puts God as number one: “Love the Lord your God and serve him only.” This sounds foolish in a world where we need to look after ourselves. But when we put him first, everything else falls into place.
The Tree or Trellis diagram is below showing all four levels into which the elements of our lives are divided. This is a preview of the whole scheme, noting that we start at the bottom with the roots.
Roots: Sabbath, prayer, sacred reading
Relate: Friendship, sexuality, family
Restore: Body, play, money
Reach out: Work, justice, witness
The roots are the most important part. If we don’t have deep roots, the rest all falls apart. Observe that ‘work’ and witness are both on level four.
This month, let’s think about Sacred reading. This is a real root activity, by which we suck nourishment deeply from the Bible, growing in understanding and knowledge about God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Not only this, but the Bible is also a gateway to adoration. St Ignatius taught his disciples to follow what he called Lectio Divina. We can take just a small portion of a story say about Jesus, imagine ourselves into the scene and speak to him there. My suggestion for February, as well as tuning in to the sermon series on “Who do you think Jesus is?” is to read a gospel right through, seeing what we can learn about Jesus and to get to know him better. I would take Mark, because it is straightforward and action- oriented, but any is fine.
It is also good to read a portion of the Bible everyday. Bible notes give a bit of help with applying the passage. You can get them as a booklet or sent to your phone. I always try to have a Christian book on the go. Suggestions this month are: Jesus is… by Judah Smith, The Life you always wanted by John Ortberg is a really good one for Lent and, of course, God in My Everything by Ken Shigematsu.
Have a very rich and blessed February and, if you would like, do drop us an email telling us who Jesus is to you!