As part of our Lent series on “Enough” we reflected on refugees. We shared experiences of travelling, by choice, the desire for somewhere new or dissatisfaction with a present situation, or by compulsion, and we shared how we felt about leaving. We had to decide what to take with us, which could be difficult with limited capacity and not knowing where you were going to finish up, and we compared with the first (?) recorded mass migration, the Exodus. We looked at how we hoped to be received by the people in the place we would arrive.
We looked at the journeys being undertaken now into Europe and at the stories of migrants. We looked at the pressures facing the receiving countries of Europe, and the responses. We knew that we couldn’t solve the issues right now, but we could look at whether we were doing enough. And we could pray! How do we respond when prayer is not enough?
We were looking at the way we perceive our faith this week, do we rely more on reason or revelation? After defining the terms: reason being our thoughts and understanding and revelation being something unexpected revealed by the divine, we individually marked on this line where we thought we fitted, I was towards the middle but a bit more towards revelation.
Lectio Divina gave a way to allow God to reveal something to us through the story of the angel telling Mary she was to have a baby (Luke 1: 26 -38) - some members of the group automatically started bringing reason in by asking 'how is this possible' type questions but we focused in on the word 'favoured' which appears twice in the passage and though about how we felt that God favoured someone.
For reason we looked at part of the prophecy of Isaiah (11: 1-9) - speaking of a vision of a future kingdom where a lion shall lie down with a lamb; again some people automatically responded emotionally to the passage by saying how it made them feel. Our reasoning skills allowed us to consider what prophecy is and the context in which the passage was written - for a nation facing national annihilation a vision of a peaceful future would be very meaningful.
How can prayer be understood by reasoning and how does revelation expand our understanding of what prayer is and how to pray? Reason might mean thinking about how to pray for a situation whilst revelation could be sitting still and quiet in the presence of God.
We finished with a time of communion, reason reminds me of the first last supper while revelation means I can become aware of God's presence with me during this time.
At Sanctus we use the same service format twice a week, at both our Sunday and Wednesday services. What’s fascinating is how different the two gatherings often turn out to be.
When we looked at the story in Luke of Mary and Martha (chapter 10, verses 38 – 42) on Sunday recently we picked up the importance of our attitude when doing something for others or for the church. The same action can be performed willingly and cheerfully or it can be grudgingly carried out. We decided that God was more concerned about the attitude than the actual work performed.
On Wednesday the focus moved to what God would say to the ‘doers’ of this world. We felt him saying that his love transcended our actions and that there was no need to do anything but be aware of his love for us. That love didn’t depend on anything we did for him or for others.