Stole this public health warning from Twitter today.

Take care if you laughed.

If you remember, that is.

I will. I hope.

The Jesus who calls us follow him, is also the Jesus who is with us always, is the Jesus who walks alongside us, is the Jesus who calls us his friends.
The same Jesus counsels us that we will have trouble in the world, and offers the comfort that he has overcome the world.

From Henri Nouwen:

Sometimes there is an eagerness in us, or around us, to turn Jesus into a problem solver. We think he will solve all our problems, and if all our problems are not solved we don’t have enough faith. Tis is not really Jesus’ intent. At least that is not what is in the Gospel. Jesus is not there to get us out of hot water. He is not the cure-all for our difficulties. Jesus is not the end of the hard times in our lives. That is not what Jesus is.
To follow Jesus means that we do the walking. We are the ones doing the talking, living life, getting involved. We are the ones struggling, the ones who need to work hard. Jesus, in a way, does not take away the difficulties of our journey. I even dare to say that, following Jesus means everything changes while everything remains the same. You know very well that followers of Jesus – disciples – are people who live real human lives. The work of life does not come easier to them because they are disciples.
Life, as many of us know, can actually become more difficult – more painful – when we choose to follow Jesus. Yet at the same time we gain a certain strength because we no longer live our life or our agony alone We no longer live our struggle in isolation. We no longer live our paise as if nobody cares. Indeed, following Jesu means walking in his path, taking steps behind the One who shows us the way in our dark, broken, painful world.

Henri Nouwen, Following Jesus, SPCK, 2019, pgs 70-71.

Discipleship is following someone to be instructed by how faith leads them to uniquely live out their calling in Jesus, so that you can by faith uniquely live out your calling in Jesus.
The goal is not to simply be a carbon copy of their actions, but for your actions to reflect the same faithfulness that is present in their actions.
This is challenge that is present in generalised programs of discipleship. They can only suit a narrow group of a certain type of people, and a slightly wider group who force themselves to conform to the expectation. The rest simply slip away, usually being judged for a lack of commitment when what is present is a lack of recognition of who these people are and what would nurture them as disciples of Jesus.
Communities can only exist where there is difference. Organisations thrive on uniformity.

From Henri Nouwen:

To follow Jesus means to give our unique form and incarnation to God’s love.
To follow Jesus means to live our lives a authentically as he lived his. It means to give away our ego and to follow the God of Love as Jesus shows us. Following Jesus requires a conversion. It requires a new heart and a new mind.
There are not two followers of Jesus who are the same. Look at the great variety of saints. They all have their own unique style of discipleship. One of the most exciting aspects of the Christian life is that it does not put people in a mood, but creates a rich variety of people in whom the love God becomes incarnate in very different ways.
If following were imitating then there could never be a community. A community is precisely a gathering of those who in different ways have integrated and incorporated the call. The vitality of the Christian community exists precisely because there are so many ways of following Jesus.
We all reflect God’s love in different ways. Together we are like a mosaic. In a mosaic on stone is bright, another stone is gold, another stone is small. If we look at it closely we can admire the beauty of each stone, but if we step back from it, we can see that all the little stones reveal a beautiful picture and tell a story that none of the stones can tell by itself. Together the different stones reflect the face of God to the world.

Henri Nouwen, Following Jesus, SPCK, 2019, pgs 48-49.

The bell from the former Nelson Presbyterian Church on the Victoria / South Australia border was taken down recently.
Given the weather conditions on the southern coastal area near the mouth of the Glenelg River it probably wasn’t a surprise to find out that if we hadn’t taken it down it may well have fallen off its stand onto anyone attempting to ring it.

Now we have two bells (we’ve had one from the former O.B. Flat Church in storage), just waiting for someone to build us a bell-tower.

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