Lent course session 5 – Rather belated :)

These are just the brief notes – I hope to include some audio – but for now I hope this gives you a flavour


St John the Evangelist, Roslyn
Called to be Saints –
The Extraordinary Nature of
‘the Church Militant here in Earth’
‘It is probably the case that only a vibrant fullness of the Christian Church,
that is itself sufficiently mature to be the bearer of a Christian ethos,
is capable of surviving the onslaught of modern secularism.’
Fr Stephen Freeman

Session 5 – Church as Community of Formation – Lessons from the past

A prayer of St Thomas More (1478-1535)
‘Give us Lord, A humble, quiet, peaceable, tender and charitable mind
And in all our thoughts, words, and deeds a taste of The Holy Spirit
Give us Lord, A lively faith, a firm hop, a fervent charity, a love of you
Take from us all lukewarmness in meditation, all dullness in prayer
Give us fervour and delight in thinking of you, and your grace and tender compassion towards us
The things which we pray for, give us grace to labour for


Speaking the truth in Love
Confession and forgiveness – the way to growth
The challenge to unconditional love – Love one another, as I have loved you
Shared Life – not just ‘sharing’ our lives
Koinonia = Communion cf. ‘Fellowship’
Christ Is our Koinonia – 2 or 3 are gathered
Is it possible to come together and NOT pray??
‘Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart
Humility as the touchstone

Church reimagined – in the light of Christ and the announcement of the Imminent Kingdom of God

Jesus is LORD – all of life must be re-oriented around him
Church as the foretaste – Church as Eschatological community – expressing in itself the age to come as made known to us in the Risen Christ – Community of the Resurrection
Ephesians 1:15-22
Church – Community of re-orientation – disciples following Jesus. Growing more and more in his likeness and thus more and more distinctive in the world. I.e. Growing in faith
Embodied in relationship. (John 13:34-5 – ‘as I have loved you’ – Losing our life for the sake of one another)
Church decerebrates Faith
The uniquely toxic nature of modern society and its impact on Church – the shattering of connection – the loss of Common Life
The most poignant of questions in all of Scripture – ‘Where are you?’

From Garden to City? The move from Rurality to the Urban
From Common Lives to Virtual ‘Space’ – ‘Family mealtime’
The end of History and the end of geography
From mutual accountability – to radical individualism
From a faith of Growth, to Faith as as set of fixed ideas
From Stability to radical mobility
The Age of Entertainment and Novelty

Some questions
What resonances do I find with the story of the church here?
When was the last time I changed how I was living because of something I read in Scripture or heard in a sermon, or someone said to me?
To whom have we been accountable in our life?
To whom ARE we accountable?
St Paul says ‘submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. How might mutual submission benefit our faith?

A story from the deep history of the Church
A bleak picture, BUT – There is nothing new under the sun – We have been here before
A history lesson – the loss of church as communities of mutual accountability – ‘Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ’ – The Genius of Benedict (RB 1.3-5) Community forms faith
Monasticism as a renewal movement – a place of formation, from the beginning
If you wanted to be ‘a Christian’ you went to the monastery
A contentious suggestion . . .

Life needs a vessel – the neo-pentecostal dilemma, life without structure

Treasure in clay jars

Shared life requires shaping – Vows (Commitment) and Regula (Shaping)
‘Conversatio moralis’
‘Poverty’ – Common ownership
‘Chastity’ – Faithfulness
Stability as ESSENTIAL (Yet we move from church to church, driven by more important things like career . . .)
Staying put – the garden as the place of growth
Pruning – when church gets uncomfortable its quite possibly doing its work 🙂
Place and people
‘God places us in a community of people with whom we would not have chosen to live, had it been up to us’ – cf Marriage also 🙂
Human – humus – of the soil – Adam – Admah – Mud creature 🙂
Neo- monasticism – exciting but costly – like following Jesus 🙂

NEXT TIME!!! Exploring Vows and Rule in the Life of a church

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