In some ways it seems much longer than a year, the time we have been talking about ‘Living God’, in the Cathedral. To be accurate it is just over a year but when we met yesterday to review the past year and went through all that we had done as a community it really did feel that we had packed a huge amount in.
We began with the conversations about what we are talking about when we talk about God and that led into our first morning conference. Then we travelled together through Advent, thinking around the themes of darkness and silence and flesh, culminating in an Advent Vigil.
The theme of the spring term was scripture and prayer with a Lent series looking at different ways of praying. Holy Week was like none other that we have done with four retreat ‘strands’ – icon writing; creative writing; jazz and the blues and ‘Passion in Real Time’.
There were retreats and residentials through the year and in the summer term a concentration on contemporary issues in our lives – sex and relationships; money; work.
But so many other aspects of our lives have come under the Living God banner as we have tried in lots of ways to encounter and engage with the reality of God in our lives.
The question that we now have to ask ourselves and which we began asking yesterday in our ‘Living God : Living Cathedral’ morning is, where is God leading us now, into the future? That is where the exciting possibilities lie and we look forward to discerning God’s will for us.
So today the congregation have been completing a survey which is similar to the one we completed last year which gave us an indication of who we are as a community and where we are spiritually. The comparisons of the results from last year and this year will be fascinating and unique. I’m not aware that anyone else has done this piece of work. It will be another tool in this process of discernment.
This has also been the Feast of Christ the King, one of our two Patronal Festivals as well as ‘Stir Up Sunday’. It really is amazing to think that this liturgical year is drawing to its close and that next Sunday is Advent Sunday and we begin the whole thing again. But the truth is of course that though things may seem to be ‘the same again’, with God things are always new. A living Cathedral needs to combine both what is old and what is new. Like the householder that Jesus refers to in Matthew 13.52
Jesus said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’
It is not an easy thing to do, not an easy balance to achieve but that is the commission that we accept as the Church. At the beginning of every new ministry as the Preface to the Declaration of Assent is read we are told
‘ …. which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation.’
The living God we worship and adore is the Lord of the past, present and the future and it is with thanks for the past and with an eye to the future that in this present moment we ask God to lead us and to stir us up as community to be more the people that God desires us to be.
Stir up, O Lord,
the wills of your faithful people;
that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,
may by you be plenteously rewarded;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.