Later today Rosmeary & I fly out to Durban to spend time visiting our link diocese of Natal. 8 others from the Diocese, a headteacher, clergy training officer, vicar, curate, policeman, Mothers Union rep, parish member, and link officer, travel with us. We anticipate that it will be a mixture of thrilling, enlightening, challenging, demanding and tiring. I am passionate about the church developing links across the world that really enable us to learn from one another and support one another. We are a global people of God. How the good news of Jesus impacts people in different cultures and social / political settings is one of the ways in which we are all enriched. Every time I visit a different place I am changed and am forced to re-think how I live for Jesus Christ in my own setting.
Travelling with others is also a wonderful way of discovering more about travelling companions, and myself. I have vivid memories of many different ways in which I deepened friendships through the process of travelling together. Seeing pweople in different settings, and simply handling the everydayness of life in different places is very revealing. I know that I can never hide my failings when I am travelling with others for a while. I am ever more convinced that simply doing ordinary things together is one of the very best ways of deepening each others friendships, and deepening our lives. As a church leader I need to do this with my own clergy and people; but it applies in every walk of life. Politicians need to spend real time with ordinary people in their lives – not simply fleeting set up visits; bosses of businesses and unions need to spend time with staff and members in the same way. We all learn a great deal simply by being alongside one another; travelling through life together.
This is 1 of the reasons why the assessment of Jesus by his disciples is so astounding. They spent day in day out walking Israel with him. They saw him at his most tired and stretched; they knew what he was like at the end of the day, and early in the morning. They saw him under intense pressure, and at times of relaxation. Their conclusion – ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’. At his trial no one could bring testimony against him. For me this is enormous testimony to his uniqueness.
I hope in my coming days of travel to express something of Jeus’ likeness to all with whom I travel and meet; I know that they will all have some testimony of my weaknesses as well.
I shall try and do some blogs on our travels