By Talitha Fraser —
It was back in 2008 that I first came to know of a radical discipleship community known as “Seeds” (www.seeds.org.au). This was a network of small communities engaged in their local neighbourhoods bound together by a shared charism, written by Mark Pierson and Marcus Curnow, drawn from Baptist and Quaker influences as well as the writings of Ched Myers “Who Will Roll The Stone Away?: Discipleship Queries for First World Christians”. Refreshingly to me, this charism was based not in having ‘right’ answers, but in having ‘good questions’. I heard the invitation of Rainer Maria Rilke to:
“…have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
This felt to me to be an invitation to encounter and growth through relationship, with God and my fellow community members, and the most authentic expression of discipleship I had encountered in church to date. Bill Wylie Kellerman, co-author of “Resistance and Public Liturgy”, role models and teaches us that liturgy implicates. He said: “We believe God has already intervened, breaking in to break out on behalf of human kind. We recognise the authority of God [as bigger/beyond figureheads of power], we believe this is the meaning of the resurrection and we have come to say so”… What does it mean for us – in this time, this place, this context we live in– to be mindful of and respond well to matters of justice from a framework of hope? What can Jesus’ questions of the disciples ask of us? And how might we commit and support each other to live well into the answers?
Grouped under these 3 spiritual disciplines: Know the Word (Spirituality), Grow Home Through Slow Food (Community) and Go Engage (Mission). The invitation is to identify for the coming year in what ways we will learn, how this will change us and how in turn that change will be expressed in our practice and engagement with the world around us. Each year I enjoy making this a contemplative and creative practice, reaffirming my commitment to be changed by the relationship, revelation and resurrection of God in my life. May you hear this invitation also, may you discover good questions to live by and may your 2019 be blessed for knowing the love of a living God.
KNOW THE WORD
What is the kingdom of God like? To what can we compare? (Luke 13); Why do you not know how to interpret the present time? (Luke 12); What are you discussing as you walk along?…..What things? (Luke 26) Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? (Mark 12)
Queries What is our honest experience of Jesus Christ? What are the stories that found and shape our lives, our locality, our culture? How will we discern the Living Word who speaks to us through the biblical story, prayer and the people and situations around us? How do the questions from the gospel stories shape our understanding? What are the connections between the story of the Bible, our world and ourselves?
Do you also want to leave? Did I not choose you twelve? (John 6); Have you anything here to eat? (Luke 24); If there were not (many homes in my Father’s house), would I have told you that I am going to prepare a house for you? (John 14); What were you arguing about as we travelled on the road? (Mark 10)
Queries Who are our kin/mob/family? (Mark 3) In what ways will we or will we not ‘be there for each other’ as ‘family’? How do our families of origin and previous experiences of community affect us now? How can we practice the disciplines of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience in this locality? What are our economic necessities? (home, household, village…etc.) What does it mean for us to be the body of Christ? Where am I putting my own body?
When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals, were you in need of anything? (Luke 22); How many loaves do you have? (Mark 6, 8; Matt 15); Which one was neighbour to the robber’s victim? (Luke 10); Do you want to be well? (John 5)
Queries How does Jesus’ life, incarnation, death & resurrection shape our practice of mission? Who is at our table? Whom are we offering hospitality? Are we dependent on those we serve? Are we experiencing hospitality from those we serve? What is my vocation/calling? What voices are shaping our choices? What is ‘good work’? In what ways can we put those considered least at the top of our priorities? How are we deepening our understanding and practice of Teaching, Healing and Exorcism in light of the Word?