In this session we shall be thinking about how we come across as people who are sent to bear witness to the good news of the gospel; In other words, how we come across as Christians, given our divisions and the prevailing sense of mistrust that seem to govern our common life. The aim will be to get us to examine some of the assumptions we make about each other and about the faith itself, so that we can reach a deeper level of understanding which takes us beyond tribal thinking and allows us to see and hear one another as God sees us, in the fullness of our humanity.
Did you learn anything new about each other as a result of the last session? Did the conversation bring up ‘issues’? These don’t have to be related to faith itself. They could have to do with the way your church does things in general, what kind of services it has and whether you think these should be broadened to include other ways of worshipping. They could also have to do with leadership and with what, as Christians, we are asking of our leaders. Did you find any common ground? How did the meeting end? Did it give rise to discussion about ‘moving on’ with your faith as a whole?
1 Cor. 3:5-9
We begin to understand others when we discover that we have certain things in common.
Honouring each other’s faith (even when we don’t share it in the same way) by blessing one another.
Moving across the boundaries of churchmanship leads to a deeper knowledge of God.
Questions and Discussion Points
Do you describe yourself as Christian, or as Anglican, Catholic or any other denomination? What do you think is the difference? What does it mean to work together on the same building, as Paul describes it in 1 Cor. 3:5-9?
Are there divisions in your church or fellowship? How might you go about blessing those you do not understand or with whom you disagree? Think back to the last disagreement you had with them. What do you wish you had said or done? What would you like them to do for you?
Being One in Christ
What does abiding in Christ mean for you? And what more do you learn about it from the way others experience it? Are you willing to be enriched by the faith of others?
Sometimes the things that divide us are simply too complex and painful for us to agree on. How can we learn to disagree well? What does unity across differences look like?
Lorraine Cavanagh is a theologian and an Anglican priest. Before her ordination she was an established painter with successful solo exhibitions in London. She then completed a doctorate at Cambridge University. Since her ordination in 2003 she has been Anglican Chaplain to Cardiff University and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. She was also part-time tutor in Christian Spirituality at St. Michael's College, Llandaff. She lives and works in South Wales.