Have you ever been to Burnham Abbey or, for that matter have you ever had the happy opportunity to visit any community of monks or nuns? Most people seem to leave such places feeling something of the timeless peace and calmness there and perhaps also feeling a hankering to find ways to share it in their own lives.
Connections started last July as a response to our parish commitment to be more ‘Faithful to God’ and in the last three months we have had the opportunity to spend time on Wednesday evenings once a fortnight, in the peace and calm of our lovely church to share a meal together and quietly and gently reflect on the significance of old and new testament passages for how we live our Christian lives today. For example, in recent sessions we have looked at the Christian response to conflict in relationships; as individuals and across societies using the stories of Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, the sayings of Jesus, the parable of the Prodigal Son, what insights we get from Paul’s letters. We have helped each other interpret what we read to address everything from sibling rivalry to Brexit! Our guide has been Brian McLaren’s book called ‘We Make the Road by Walking’helping us to understand the theology behind our reflections.
I guess what we are doing – for a couple of hours anyway – is what monks and nuns do much of the time in travelling the road of faith into an unknown future. Our book begins “You are not finished yet. You are ‘in the making’. You have the capacity to learn, mature, think, change and grow. You also have the freedom to stagnate, regress, constrict and lose your way.” Connections helps us to take some steps along the former road and it feels good.