Those compelling, befuddling, counterintuitive bombshells. Nine bullet points spoken by Jesus, now respected by millions in every nation and religion the world over.
It seems impossible to properly get a handle on them, but they themselves have gripped so many people. It seems impossible to understand them abstracted from lived experience, but as we start to read and live them those few words provide a comfort that’s not pat, a wisdom that confounds and a pattern for a new kind of society. Those few words have fomented many movements that are doing their bit to redeem the trajectory of humanity.
Right after coming back from the bible week, without conferring Josh and I both thought it would be worthwhile for us to each spend a week out of normal life resting, praying and considering the future. We’d already arranged a couple of things last week including tea around a neighbour’s house, so we delayed it until this week. Now we’re into our second day.
Josh, Sam and I are staying in local community houses and still working during the day, and Andy’s jetted off to bonny Scotland to be with his family. It will be strange not seeing the regulars like our neighbours the Bannisters, Rhiannon, Marley, Ali, et al.
My pad for the week is with the welcoming folk at Cornhill, a country manor just a few yards from the house in which I grew up over sixteen years. As well as simple relaxation it’ll be a good opportunity to spend some time with my gran and mum who live on-site, and I’m sure I’ll spend quite a bit of time chatting with Jesus while walking out in the fields too.
My friends and I spent the week just gone at a monastery in Leicestershire called Mount St Bernard Abbey. Many people would visit such a place to get away from the hecticness of day to day life, to seek God or to find out about the monastic lifestyle. We on the other hand went for a bible week along with 15 other young Christians from our church to grasp when, what and who the word of God is.
We all need God’s word in our lives and this monastery exists for people to seek, love and find God in all parts (and hours) of their lives. The main Abbey is a beautiful stone building made of marble on the inside, and is used by the monks and visitors in specific hours throughout the day and night to sing their way through the bible. Most people from the Bible group would spend 20-100 minutes each day meeting with God, watching a service take place or following the Psalms as they were sang out. Personally I was able to receive God’s peace and truth whilst God’s Word echoed around this huge building from reverent hearts.
One evening every week we have our special weekly house meal, commonly referred to as “agape”.
Agape centres around a meal and is an opportunity for our committed core church groups to strengthen their relationships, going deeper with one another. It’s an anchor for the anchored. It’s an opportunity to fill our bellies, fill our souls and fill our spirits with good food. We share hospitality, meet one another heart to heart, spend some time worshipping and hopefully find a savour of God in it all.