Viewed through a different lens

Bible passages “come alive” in different ways as we journey on through our lives as Christians. Some circumstances make us view the text through a different lens, Kate Tuckett discovers as she reads the first chapters of 1 Peter.

I’ve been in post as Vicar of Wolvercote and Wytham for six months. The pandemic has been a uniquely strange time to start a new role, so a passage which is, at its heart, a call to holiness feels particularly apt as I look forward with my church communities.

When the New Testament letters were written, the early Christians were confident that Christ would return soon. They didn’t want to be found wanting, so living a holy life was of central importance. As we try to live in God’s love in our times, this call is ever more relevant.

St Irenaeus said that “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” Often the people who most inspire us are the ones who seem fully alive, who have the energy and generosity that enable others to live well. We might call this holiness. Surely this is what we are called to in our churches – to encourage, support and inspire one another to live as human beings fully alive.

As I read, I am drawn to what we are called to rid ourselves of. We all have things that stand in the way of holiness for ourselves and our churches, things that “wage war against the soul.” Paying attention to these helps us to build intentionally holy communities.

I have started working with my PCCs on setting a vision for our future together, for the churches that we want to be. If we want churches that are multi-generational and places of justice, welcome and kindness, it can be helpful to ask what the opposite would be.

What is the opposite of welcome? How can we rid ourselves of this? How can we show in our actions who we want to be as communities of love?

The crux of the matter is that we are called to have “genuine mutual love”, to “love one another deeply from the heart.” As Christians we follow a God of grace, holding onto the almost unbelievable promise that we are loved whatever we do, that nothing can make God love us any more or any less. If we truly believe in grace, this affects how we behave towards each other.

And yet the most difficult place to live gracefully is often with the people we see the most – with our families and friends, in our workplaces, and sometimes in our church communities. Irritations and resentments can lose all proportion when we are sharing life together. Living with grace may mean being intentional about keeping perspective, challenging ourselves to see the bigger picture and having the humility to step into another person’s shoes.

As we emerge from a deeply challenging couple of years, there is such a need for us to be living with grace. May we be holy people, helping each other to lead holy lives, proclaiming the mighty acts of him who calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light.

The Revd Kate Tuckett, Vicar of Wolvercote and Wytham


 

All of us find members of our church family difficult at times. Who could you reach out to this week?


Page last updated: 11th April 2022 12:21 PM