A Letter from Fr. Robert
Two months in the year mark new beginnings, January the new calendar and September the new school year. Students everywhere mark the end of August with sigh, the relaxation and fun of August heralds a new year of studies. Some greet it with excitement and others with trepidation, but all know that September means getting serious about study.
Being a student means learning and applying that learning. It is a good picture of what it means to live the Christian life. The word for learner in Greek is disciple, and a disciple knew they had not just to learn the teachings of their master, but that they should also imitate the life they were seeing lived out. Having been a disciple of Jesus for a long time I am conscious of times when I was excited about the student status of discipleship, keen to learn what this decision to follow meant for me, but also conscious of times when I have not moved on much in the learning process perhaps because I haven’t lived what I’ve learnt.
Being a student of Jesus is not so much about classrooms and lessons but more about the way I live out the love of God shown to me. Love received should be shared to a world in desperate need to love. That is the foremost lesson for the follower of Jesus. His teaching was simple really: God loves us extravagantly and we must respond in love not just in the thanksgiving of weekly worship but in acts of love for our fellow human beings. Saint Paul wrote magnificently about love in 1 Corinthians 13, but he begins this chapter with a massive challenge to those who like being religious:
“If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13: 1-3
Can I suggest a short prayer for September:
Father God, teach me to learn more about your love for me, and in learning fill me with that love so that it overflows to all those who need it most. Unblock the dams of fear and self and let love flood this world in which I walk. Amen
Every Blessing, Fr Robert