We have spoken a few times recently about the URC’s focus on discipleship called Walking the Way: Living the life of Jesus today. In introducing this we have watched a couple of the films and given out the publicity leaflet which explains what Walking the Way is trying to encourage. In a nutshell this might be described as ‘helping us to deepen our understanding of what Christian discipleship truly means and encouraging us to live as these disciples in the world’.
Being ‘People of the Way’ in 21st Century Britain has its challenges, and whether we have been on this journey for most of our lives or have more recently begun we will know how difficult this road can be at times. The church should always be a place where our journeys are celebrated, where we find encouragement and spiritual guidance, a place where we are fed and nurtured for the road ahead.
One set of resources that the Walking the Way team are commending to local churches to help them do more this more effectively is called Holy Habits. Based on a book by Andrew Roberts, a Methodist minister from Birmingham, Holy Habits takes as its text Acts 2, 42 – 47. Here Luke paints a picture of the infant church and how those very first disciples of Jesus lived. Andrew Roberts lists 10 activities of this church, which he calls Holy Habits, and imagines how they might be embraced in personal and community life today. The 10 Holy Habits are biblical teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, prayer, giving, service, eating together, gladness and generosity, worship and the making of more disciples.
The resource material that has been produced to support this takes each of these habits in turn and explores in greater depth their meaning and the implications for us as individuals and churches as we seek to habitually embody these characteristics of discipleship. Habits are often seen as things that are negative – habits to break. But we also know how important it is to practise something to improve and achieve our goals. Thomas and I have both signed up to do the Great North Run in September (more about this later!), but in order to be fit enough to do this we will have to train and therefore get into the habit of running. Likewise, if we want to deepen our discipleship then practising these Holy Habits might be a good place to start.
I am due to receive a set of the Holy Habits material once it is published and would like to see if we can use it at Horeb. This might take the form of a discussion group during Lent, or a series of services exploring the theme. But whatever we do, I want us to always remember that being disciples requires us not to just talk about it, we have to be prepared to walk the walk too. I hope that Walking the Way will help us to do just that.