Friday 19 October 2007

Building Jerusalem in Seer Green

Back to Seer Green on Sunday, where I had such fun in the school, to confirm 12 people from there and Slough. One reading was slightly unusual — the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem in Nehemiah 16. This story shows that Christianity is an inherently corporate enterprise. People who stay together accomplish the impossible in spite of the politics of the proud. Chapters full of names make the point that everybody is somebody; a good note on which to be confirmed in the Christian faith. The other reading was from John 15. Jesus never wrote a book or founded a corporation, but he made friends, and calls us his friends, not servants. Abraham, from whose faith, and with whose faith, we find blessing, was called God’s friend.
  • Real friends respect the other person as they really are, not just for what they can get out of them. So goodbye to the idea that Jesus is somehow after our money, or out to clone us all or homogenise us into something we’re not.
  • Real friends desire and work for the real good of the other person, whatever the cost. Goodbye, then to the idea that Jesus is trying to recruit us all to some kind of cult that’s out to get us.
  • Real friends love with open eyes and understand. They are always there for the other person. So goodbye to the plaster saint view of Jesus.
  • Real friends show genuine empathy and sympathy. Jesus is not some great copper in the sky. True friendship also means having a vision for your friends. It’s accepting the way they are, but being open to what they could be.
True friendship with God and each other, is transformational, and a far more accurate model for discipleship than institutional religion. It was an honour to be among friends on Sunday. Thanks to Sarah Allen for a picture of seven of the eight confirmees from Holy Trinity — Gaenor the Vicar, Amelia, Tom, Conor, Sarah, Me, Matthew, Katharine, Roger. Sarah also brought an obscenely yummy fruitcake (from a mystery source I shall certainly use in future) which contained all kinds of strong liquor, and should be banned. Except at confirmations, where it should be compulsory.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You know, for a bishop, you talk a lot of sense! Thank you for posting something so meaningful at a difficult time in my life...

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