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From the Vicar - March 2023

01/03/2023

Getting ‘in the Way’….

I’m certain we’ve all heard this phrase before and, for most of us, I guess that it has mostly negative connotations….when I was much younger and growing up in the USA, if I was hanging around in the kitchen (trying to eat an illicit snack much of the time!), my Mom – trying to unpack grocery shopping or get a meal prepared – would frequently say, ‘Stop getting in the way, and let me get on with things!’ Fair enough….point taken!

However, this phrase actually had a very different, and indeed positive, connotation when the Christian Church was in its infancy. In the New Testament book The Acts of the Apostles, the early followers of the crucified and risen Jesus, who recognised him as the promised Saviour and committed themselves to following his teachings and example, were referred to as ‘any belonging to the Way’ (Acts 9:1-2) and as ‘followers of the Way’ (Acts 24:14).
Undoubtedly this is rooted in Jesus’ own revelation in John’s Gospel, when he assured his followers that he is ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life’ of the living God (14:6) through whom we can have ‘life in abundance’ (10:10).

When spoken of in this sense, the phrase “getting ‘in the Way’” can take on a whole new and exciting meaning; during this continuing season of Lent – when Christians are encouraged to ‘journey with Jesus’ and re-experience his costly suffering love for us all as he heads towards betrayal and crucifixion – we are invited and indeed challenged afresh to “get ‘in the Way’” by deepening our relationship with him, and drawing closer to his will and ‘his way’ which reveals the presence and power of God for our own daily lives.

Of course, from our own personal experience we know that Jesus’ challenge to ‘take up your cross and follow me’ (Mark 8:34) is not at all easy for any of us, especially if we attempt to ‘love God with our whole being, and our neighbour as ourself’ simply in our own strength and power!


So…..how might you personally choose to ‘journey with Jesus’ more intentionally this Lenten season? The following ‘spiritual practices’ may prove helpful for getting ‘in the Way’:

……taking time to honestly speak to, and deeply listen to God in PRAYER – to give you wisdom and understanding about his call upon your life, and how you might serve his purposes more effectively; to help us seek healing, hope, and peace for people in every nation, especially those subject to war and oppression….

 

……re-discovering what God is trying to tell us through the amazing ‘gathered library’ of 66 books which we commonly call the Bible –
discerning the powerful presence, and precious promises of God through ancient truths which help us live our lives more meaningfully in the challenging present……

…….perhaps choosing to ‘give up’ something which you enjoy very much during the 40 day ‘Lenten fast’, as a way of personally appreciating Jesus’ own human experience of temptation and suffering in order to stay true to God’s sacrificial, loving purposes for his world….


……and, alongside all these useful practices, actively ‘taking up your own cross;’ of costly service for the sake of others’ needs….whilst this can of course take many different forms, at this particular time - with so many local families struggling with the huge challenges caused by the ongoing ‘cost of living crisis’ – one of the most significant ways we can serve others is by providing generous support for the Lichfield Foodbank which is currently facing unprecedented levels of demand
(you would be most welcome to support the special Lent Appeal being run by Alrewas Parish Church, whether through donation of food goods or a financial contribution to enable the Foodbank to purchase the supplies needed most urgently at this time)

I sincerely hope these suggestions will help you to succeed in truly ‘getting in ‘the Way’ during your Lenten journey this March. The journey will continue,
of course, with special events for Holy Week and Easter from April 2nd to 9th ….but more about that in the April Magazine!

With every blessing for the journey, Vicar John

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