How should busy, time-poor Followers of Jesus live? How do you spot a Christian in your workplace? Can you give a quick answer?
We started by trying to think of a Tweet. Twitter is now a bit old hat; Instagram will be followed by something else, but it has the advantage of having visual content rather than just words. We started with three questions:
1. Ordinary people understood Jesus, but we are not sure ordinary people understand the Church: what needs to change? (How do we summarise the Gospel?)
2. The Eucharist, The Lord’s Supper, the Mass, is a command, but why? What did Jesus expect that his Followers would get from it? (What are the essential meanings of the sharing of Bread and the drinking of Wine?)
3. Jesus cured the sick, but why did he do this? What are we supposed to learn from this? Is the Church supposed to be in the healing business? (What are Disciples, or Followers of Jesus expected to do in the 21st Century?)
In talking to many people, there would appear to be agreement that it is difficult to explain the Gospel in our culture, we have no clear ‘vision’ or framework for being a Follower of Jesus after Brexit, and we all agree that we do not agree on what Jesus meant by ‘Do this in remembrance of me’.
But if we went back to the Feast of Pentecost after Jesus had been crucified at Passover in Jerusalem, what was it that those early frightened Followers of Jesus believed about him? Why did so many in the first 300 years until Constantine willingly let themselves be thrown to the lions, executed or tortured? Of course it did not stop with Constantine, but from that time on the institutional church became part of the establishment.
Wellbeing Church is about getting back to those bare essentials. Jesus told his followers at the end of his ‘Sermon on the Mount’ in Matthew 7:
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!”
Over the last 2,000 years all sorts of amazing structures have been built on the foundation of Hearing and Doing the words of Jesus. Some have, to be honest, been pretty ghastly and have clearly extended beyond the rock onto dodgy clay or sand.
So if we wanted some minimalist architecture rather than a gothic or rococo edifice, what would it look like?
We are putting together two suggestions for Discussion Groups on each of the three topics: Discipleship, Gospel, Eucharist. Part 1s are for Daily Mail or Daily Express readers (which are free to download) and Part 2s are for Guardian, Economist or Financial Times readers, and those are for sale as they are more substantial, including more reading material.
We have put Discipleship first, as it is easier to work out where Jesus wants us to go: how we start on the journey rather depends on where we are starting from.
Watch this space for publication dates.