On the membership ticket of the Methodist Church, we read “As a member of the Methodist Church I am called to learning and caring, through Bible study and meeting for fellowship, so that I may grow in faith and support others in their discipleship”. This phrase draws on a set of principles known as “Our Calling”- you may like to watch this online video https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/the-methodist-church/our-calling/. We’ve been using “Our Calling” since 2000 as a way to remind ourselves what we believe God is calling us to be and do in our society today. It was re-affirmed at this year’s Methodist Conference and the presentation and debate can be followed here (go to 30 minutes in to the video at 30:36). https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/the-methodist-conference/conference-2018/conference-programme/2018-07-04/1645-pm/reaffirming-our-calling/
Our commitment to grow in faith and help others to also develop in their faith is part of the purpose of the Methodist church, in our world, today – “The Church exists to help people to grow and learn as Christians, through mutual support and care”.
To grow and learn as Christians really isn’t something we can do on our own. We need each other – for insights, support, experience & wisdom, discerning what God wants us to do in each concrete situation. God does not call us to be Christians on our own, but together as a community, as the Body of Christ. That is why “learning and caring” go together – we learn to love, we learn as we live out that love. Investing some of our precious time in “Bible study and meeting for fellowship” means deepening our understanding of our faith and our experience of God’s love. This understanding and love continually renews, sustains, challenges and changes us. We grow constantly in God’s limitless love and mature in God’s way, feeling that the character of Jesus and the will of God takes shape in us. This love naturally leads us to each other, God’s love fills and overflows our lives, so that we love each other and share with each other the wonder of knowing Jesus who is God’s love made visible, God’s love in human form. We are “transformed by the renewing of our minds” as well as our spirits and emotions, because God’s love is known in all our being – mind, soul and body.
As the Methodist, school and university years get going and the long hot days of summer fade from sight, we turn to our diaries and calendars again. Why not pencil in the dates and details for our small groups and think about inviting people round your house to learn, care, study and pray together?
Yours in Christ,