Vicars’ Blog September – A community of God’s people

Vicars’ Blog : A community of God’s people

September has challenges of its own, such as returning from holiday, ensuring we have school uniforms that fit the children and getting the right children to the right pre-school, school and college on the right day! Or, if we’re not tied to term-time, planning autumn holidays.

As a community of God’s people, we care about every stage of life that affects different members of our community and we will be thinking of one another and praying for one another as term starts. But, what does it actually mean to be a community of God’s people? What did it mean in ancient Israel? What did it mean for the disciples and the Early church? What does it mean for us in Walton on Thames in 2019? What might it look like for us at St Mary’s and St John’s to be living life together as God’s people? This is a challenge that merits some thinking about. It’s not a simple question. As a church, we have taken this on board as one of our Vision Priorities for this year 2019-2020.

Being a COMMUNITY OF GOD’S PEOPLE who care, pray together and love one another is pushing the idea of welcome and belonging further and encourages us to ask questions: What does it feel like to belong? Does this apply to children, youth, adults and seniors of all kinds of backgrounds? Do we feel we belong enough to welcome other people? Who first befriended us when we came to the church? Are we prepared to be that first friend for a new person or family? Does it help if we are part of a Life Group? Does serving in the church in some way help us to feel we belong? – What a lot of questions. It does sound like “Back to school!”

Maybe we can consider what it was like for the first Christians, after Jesus returned to heaven, as people from Jewish, Greek, Roman and many other backgrounds had become Christians and were figuring out how to “do life” together. They modelled themselves on the Good Shepherd who became the sacrificial

lamb, giving his life so that they might have “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade”. One disciple wanted to encourage the new Christians that though they would face suffering, the promise of glory was sure. This disciple who walked with Jesus, knew him and watched him suffer, can help us with our big question. Peter. David Suchet says of this fisherman from Galilee, “I see him as an impulsive, impetuous, hard-bitten Middle Eastern man with big, rough fisherman’s hands and a huge heart”. We will be studying Peter’s first letter to the early Christians to help us with all our own questions about how to live as a community of God’s people today.

Let’s enjoy going “back to school” as we discuss and grow together as a community of God’s people.

Jonny & Cathy