Kneeling Before My Friend

side chaple

A pastor takes a moment from the business of the cathedral worship service to step into a side chapel, its windows overlooking the city in a wide angled panoramic. His heart is heavy and his eyes are brimming with emotion.

He feels the need to kneel before the centre piece of an altar and a cross. Checking that no one is around or could see him through the doorless entrance, he kneels, allowing the emotion to show in a measured way, the dam wall of pride and stubbornness holding back the deep waters of his swirling emotions.

“Save my children,” he stutters through gritted teeth, “I want them to know you lord.” And as he bowed his head in prayer and closes his eyes, he adds “save your church.” The silence and tears give way to a renewed commitment spoken to his Lord and King, “I commit myself to its survival, its future and I entrust my children to you. Amen.”

In those few moments in that side chapel, I wasn’t asking for salvation for my kids as much as I was asking the Lord, that my children might know Jesus as I do. As friend, shepherd, confidant. So that when they find themselves lost in the darkness that life can bring, they might know what being found by God feels like.

I long also for the healing of a broken church, filled with many different people’s, with diverse and entrenched views not dissimilar to my own. So kneeling before the altar, I recommitted myself to its future, its success, rather than listening to the naysayers, I choose instead a realistic hopefulness one rooted in faith in Jesus. I choose to hang my hat on the calling Christ has placed upon my shoulders, that of being a presbyter.

I don’t know what the future holds, whether British Methodism will rise much like the story of the fiery Phoenix of old, nor whether my children will know Jesus as shepherd and even Saviour in the same way I do. But I commit my way to trust the Lord knows what he is doing.

Broader speaking as pastors, lay people, whoever or whatever our role is in our beloved churches, of which neither the Pope, President, Moderator, Arch-bishop is head of but are able caretakers. For Christ is our head and he speaks through our leadership and our laity, through our community as a body of disciples and the community who don’t know the Christ who we follow. I wonder what are they saying to you?

Brothers and sisters let us lay our worries at Jesus’ feet, our fears and anxieties for what might become of us as a body of believers in the UK Methodist Church. Let’s live not as the persecuted or afflicted, not as cultural oddities, but as proud to be called Christian. May the term Christian, come to not be synonymous with racism, bigotry, abuse of others. But synonymous instead with a Jesus Christ who loves died and rose for everyone, gay, straight, men, women, kids, whoever.

I am Christian, a Methodist, a pastor, my identity is not denominationally bound, but Methodism is the home I feel most spiritually connected to. For its lack of religiosity, for its passion for the poor and marginalised and offering all people hope in Christ, for its failings and successes, finally for its future whatever that looks like.

Proverbs 3:5-6 With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow. (NRSV Translation)

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  1. Pingback: Heading Into The Waves | GodLifeChurch

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