Our common life.rtf - Bemerton Parish by fjzhangweiyun


									Acts 1 12 –14                          John 4 . 5-26

The church began with a close knit group of people, bound together by their shared
experience of knowing and being with Jesus as disciples – and their shared calling to
draw others to him to be part of his kingdom – and have that “life in all its fullness”
which only he could give.

In the book of Acts we read that that common life continued with those first Christians
constantly meeting together for prayer and fellowship and shared mealtimes – and
retelling and entering into an ever deeper understanding of what it all meant ….this
living, ongoing story God was writing with their lives and the lives of those who were
being added to their numbers. And all that is still at the heart of being the church.

Although, of course, it would be impossible now for all the Christians in the world to
meet together in one place …and it is not easy even for the hundred or so members of
our Bemerton church to all spend unhurried time together, with the different demands
on our lives of work and family and other things. But last week 40 members of our
church did manage to spend several hours together on Sunday. In the usual 10.30
service at St Michael’s we listened to that story from St John’s gospel that I read just
now about the woman Jesus spoke to when she came to the well where he was resting
in the heat of the day. And then we reflected together on it and what it might say about
our situation as a parish. And some of what came out of that was the way Jesus had
living water to give but, like many of our neighbours, the woman was oblivious to who
He was or that what He offered could make all the difference to her life. The well was
perhaps a picture of what the church is meant to be - somewhere from which everyone
should be able to draw the living water. And we thought on Jesus’ example of talking
openly and truthfully about God with someone whose life was very different from his –
and how we converse and connect with those outside the church.

Then, 5 different people spoke of their experience of becoming part of the church here 3
years ago, 10 years, 20 years, 50 plus years ago…of the high and low points there have
been …the way that being their local church has mattered. And there was something
quite special in being aware of the ongoing story of the church in this parish and its
resilience as it has faced the challenges of each decade - and then together seeking
to discern where we are now and how to meet the challenges before us in being God’s
church in this place at this present time as faithfully as those who have gone before us.

And although its not practical for all the members of our church to be there at any one
time of meeting together – like this morning or last Sunday – we can be one in heart and
mind, united in a common life and purpose and knowing and praying for each other.
Which is why it seemed important to me to share a bit about last Sunday’s Vision Day

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