Around 10 of us have spent the last few weeks meeting together over coffee and tea and biscuits at St John’s Itchen Abbas to work through the Diocesan Lent Course for 2018 ‘Sharing God’s Life’ which helps to unpack the Diocesan Rule of Life https://www.winchester.anglican.org/rule-of-life/.
These sessions were led by LLM Gerry Stacey and me. We have found it a challenging, useful and enjoyable experience. If the test of any spiritual discipline is whether it takes us beyond the normal and guides us down new paths in our relationship with God, then undoubtedly it has succeeded!
The individual sessions of the course: ‘Identity and Vocation’; ‘Loving God and Self, family and friends’; ‘Living God’s life together’; ‘Serving in God’s World’; and ‘A personal rule of life’ were accompanied with pictorial images (and video cartoons) to encourage us to engage with a particular metaphor for our relationship with God – the Vine, the Water Carrier and the Tree. We studied and discussed Mark 1:9-15 (Jesus being baptised in the Jordan), John 15:1-8 (The Vine and the Branches), John 7:37-39 (Rivers of Living Water) ,Isaiah 58:6-12 (Breaking the chains of injustice), and Psalm 1 (The fruitful tree).
Ultimately, in the last session, we turned to the Review section at the back of the Sharing God’s Life pamphlet and committed to conduct two new things that we would do this year in each of the three sections: Loving, Living and Serving. We disclosed to each other one of each of these to the group and it’s clear that the course is going to make a difference to the way that we live our lives even if small and unnoticed by others, noticed by God.
Next year we will be doing the Bible Course by the Bible Society as our Lent Course. I do hope that you will be able to join us.