At a time of turmoil and change it can be reassuring to look for stability, and hold on to what we know. When faced with big challenges, we can often seek answers that will solve our problems quickly and easily. As we journey through this Jubilee year however, there may not be quick and simple solutions available.
One of the attractions of faith is that it can bring us a sense of stability and security in a rapidly changing world – especially the last few years. The security we can find in God’s love is a wonderful, peace-giving experience. However, we can also see from the first disciples’ lives that following Jesus did not always bring them stability or security. The security we do find in God’s love helps us to live in an uncertain world, but it should also help us to step beyond the place where we feel safe so we can offer that same love to other people.
Following the Magi
Is it too late to talk about the Magi? They saw the star in the sky, they recognised it was something significant and they decided to follow it. They hoped and believed it would lead to the new king, but they didn’t know exactly where that would be. They set off on a journey into new lands, meeting new people, living each day in a new place. I wonder how long it was before they started asking why they hadn’t found the king yet? I wonder how they felt, arriving at Herod’s palace, to be told that what they were looking for wasn’t there. But they kept following the star.
Our faith involves following Jesus into new places and meeting new people in order to share his love. Our guiding light is God. When we pray, we can ask God to lead us and we can hear from God what our next steps might be. God’s presence and strength can reassure us, and strengthen us to take steps that might be scary or difficult, or just help us to keep going when we are tired or disappointed.
The first step
Our journey as a synod this year might feel like the Magi’s. We don’t have a clear destination yet – no new schemes to sign up to, or new projects to start. Our journey this year begins with a desire to seek God’s direction, and our first step is to pray. In prayer we will ‘wait dangerously’ for God to speak to us. It might feel ‘dangerous’ because we don’t know, and we might not see immediately, where it will lead. But we take this first step anyway.
If you would like some help with your prayers, you can try this simple weekly plan which offers a different focus for each day. So let us start this Jubilee year by praying – and not doing anything else (yet).
Jon Steel (Synod Mission Advocate) firstname.lastname@example.org