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Integrity

Chris Peck, Co-ordinator of Adult Education and Training for Peterborough Diocese, recently wrote this piece for the newsletter Laos.  It is reproduced with permission:

“Recently I left a dance workshop in Devon to attend the Diocesan Synod in Kettering - a stark experience of moving between worlds.

“In the workshop we explored ways of giving the deep things inside us expression in the outer world to enable a deeper integrity between body, emotions, mind and spirit.

“We shared laughter, many tears, mutual respect and deep love in an atmosphere of trust.  As I packed up my tent in the moonlight and drove east towards the rising sun, my heart was full of praise and worship of the creator God, who entered fully into our world in the person of Jesus Christ, who loves us to the uttermost, calling us to love one another.

“As I listened to the debates in Diocesan Synod about whether the cap on parish share should have a floor of 0%, whether large churches should only pay share for up to 150 people attending, whether parishes in deaneries should be encouraged to support one another financially, I was aware of having moved into a different world where much of the anguish, pain and joy felt by people is masked by the language we use and where we often cause one another much pain.

“And I reflected that all of us, as members of God's people, are called to move between worlds all the time; the worlds of family, and community, and church and work; the worlds of meeting our material needs and our spiritual needs; the world of our street and daily experience, and the world presented to us through television, film and the Internet; the world of church and our Monday to Saturday world.

“It struck me that this is what Jesus did: he moved through the world of heaven onto the earth and back into heaven; and on the earth he moved through the worlds of the outcasts, the rich, the religious leaders and the ordinary people.  And in doing so Jesus entered fully into our human, physical, material world.  He became fully human, but he did so with perfect integrity so there was no discontinuity for him between one world and the other.

“And maybe our calling as Christians is to learn to move between worlds with integrity -  not to judge one as being better than another; not to use one as a retreat from the other; not to think of one as being more ‘real’ than the other, but to move between them with integrity.

What does it mean to live with integrity?  For me, it means having a total consistency between what I say, what I do, what I believe, what I think, what I feel and my sense of God, all of them orientated in each present moment towards God's love and peace and justice, in whatever context and situation I am in.

“If this moving through different worlds with integrity is indeed our calling, then with Paul we find ourselves crying ‘Who is sufficient for these things?’ and with the writer to the Hebrews we answer ‘Looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.’”

Thanks, Chris.  I was interested to pass a truck today in the livery of Banks Cargill Agriculture.  Their ‘strapline’ is Integrity, Commitment, Connections.  Hope it's mine and yours too.

Yours in Christ

Peter Nicholls

... all of us, as members of God's people, are called to move between worlds all the time;

the worlds of family, and community, and church and work;

the worlds of meeting our material needs and our spiritual needs;

the world of our street and daily experience, and the world presented to us through television, film and the Internet;

the world of church and our Monday to Saturday world.

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