It’s been a busy weekend on the diocesan front with a lay leadership event at All Saints Inveraray on Saturday, a pre-Christmas fair at Christ Church Lochgilphead and a ‘Reflection for Action’ session after the service at St John’s Cathedral in Oban. No doubt other things were going on that I don’t happen to know about! (Comments please!) The weather was glorious and although most of us spent our time indoors, it made for easy travelling and general cheerfulness.
Spending time with a passage from scripture was a feature of both the Inveraray and Oban gatherings. I was struck, not for the first time, at how enthusiastically people respond when invited to engage with the Bible, finding anew its relevance to the situations in which we find ourselves as 21st century Christians. Bishop Kevin led us in exploring John’s account of the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1-15) and the St John’s folk reflected on an incident in the life of the early Christians as told in Acts 4: 23-35. In both cases, we noticed the sequence that the stories moved through and which can be seen in our eucharistic liturgy where recollection of events give rise to thanksgiving, grace is sought and given and action follows – or should.
Discerning what action is best and what activities we should prioritise is an ongoing challenge but one which can be met through the kind of reflection briefly summarised above. Rowan Williams is very encouraging on the matter. He says,
What course of action more fully seems to resonate with the kind of life Christ lived and lives? What course of action opens up more possibilities for God to ‘come through’? These are not questions that will immediately yield an answer, but they are the raw material of reflection….There’s no guarantee that in any situation there will be only one clear and compelling answer to such questions. But if these are the questions we’re asking, the very process of reflecting and discerning is making space in ourselves for the life of Christ and the creative movement of God. To the extent that we truthfully and sincerely make that space, we are already in tune a little bit better with God; so even if we go on to make a mistake, we shall have done something to leave open the door to God in the decision we made.
from ‘Silence and Honey Cakes’