You will have seen a great deal about ‘The Methodist Way of Life’. For many of us what is contained within this way of life is little different to how we imagine any Christian would live their life, but perhaps to have it distilled in this way is very helpful. Those who have an interest in the early days of Methodism will most likely say, ‘But this is nothing new!’ and indeed they would be right. Yet like washing our hands properly, which we have been reminded of by the pandemic, these once core practices and the value of them need to be rediscovered for our current time.
I have no doubt that small groups are an excellent way of exploring our faith, discovering God at work in our lives today, and supporting each other pastorally and prayerfully. Yet they often take time to establish and to build up trust, so that everyone can share confidently with others. I have also experienced the growth in joy and enthusiasm that has come from being part of such a group, and how it has blessed and challenged the wider church in its worship, its ministry and its mission.
The month of May reminds me of the opening line of a madrigal I used to perform regularly, ‘Now is the month of Maying’. It was always a fun piece to play with the recorder ensemble, it was light, it had merriment, but it also said that Now is the month. Now is the time.
Reflecting on the days after Easter and urgency that the Early Church had, thinking that Jesus would return very soon, I cannot help but wonder if that sense of urgency needs to be rekindled in the church of today. We should be sharing our faith and our experience of the risen Lord Jesus and teaching again those wonderful stories and lessons that have kept us rooted in God whatever life may throw at us.
The Methodist Way of Life could sound like some form of monastic discipline, but I believe it is far more positive than that. It is designed in such a way that helps us seek to build each other up. The main question is ‘How can we support each other?’ It is not an individual exercise, although there will be individual components of it. It is a Way of Life that is about having companions for the journey. I believe it is something that has so much potential for us all, and it is incredibly exciting to seek out what God has in store for us. Who will journey with you, with me? As we emerge out of lockdown a new chapter begins in our church and in our lives, yet as ever God is with us, and for that we are ever thankful.