Encounter in Notts…
BISHOP PATRICK: The spiritual foundation for the diocese that I would like to see put firmly in place over the next three years is threefold: ENCOUNTER, DISCIPLESHIP and MISSIONARY DISCIPLESHIP. First of all, ENCOUNTER: I would like to ensure that people of all ages in our parishes, schools, and chaplaincies are helped to discover, or discover more deeply, the importance of a personal ENCOUNTER with Christ; so that they can become convinced that they are each loved by God and are invited to grow in their relationship with him. In particular I would like to see the development of times of Eucharistic Adoration in our parishes, schools and chaplaincies.
Jesus makes an exodus from heaven and he comes down to earth and he picks us up and carries us up back into heaven. When he came down He stood at the door and knocked.
We are in Nottingham and our Bishop is doing something new - below is a small presentation which is our community’s response to Bishop Patrick’s pastoral letter given in November 2018.
1 Well, get up and look, dear.
2 Nah, you get up, I can’t be bothering.
1 (Opens the imaginary door a crack)
‘allo, is anyone there? (as though listening to an inaudible voice)
oh, you mean you want to come in….just a minute
(goes to other person)
He wants to come in.
2 Who’s he when he’s about.
1 ‘Er I fink it’s him. You know, him with a big H.
2 Oh, we’ll have to think about that.
1 Is he dangerous?
2 Well go and ask him.
Narrator JESUS IS LOOKING FOR US. He comes for us. He’s standing there saying I’m here! I’m here! He’s not hiding in the side aisle, and He’s not even hiding in the tabernacle.
IT’S UP TO US. Encounter is a big word. What he’s saying is: ‘Can we meet?’ And what do you do when you meet a person? You’re prepared to take them by the hand and look them in the eye.
His Eye is on the Sparrow
Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come, Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home, When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
Refrain: I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear, And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears; Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise, When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies, I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
This song is not TMD! You can listen to the youtube HERE.
Narrator YOU NEED COURAGE. Because you don’t know what will happen next but let us reassure you he’s good. (He’s not just good, He’s really good)
BISHOP PATRICK Secondly, DISCIPLESHIP: because of that personal encounter with Christ, I would like to encourage each of us to hear and respond to his invitation to be his DISCIPLES, to follow him more closely, and to seek to serve him generously in our daily lives.
What does discipleship mean? This is the first encounter with Jesus in the Gospel of St. John.
(Two nervous people)
1 It’s Him isn’t it?
2 It kind of looks like Him from the back.
1 I think He’s going to turn around. I can feel it in my bones…
2 What did He say?
1 He said ‘What are you looking for?
2 What did you say?
1 Oh, ‘erm, Master, Teacher, where are you staying?
2 What did He say?
1 Come and see……….Follow me
Narrator Discipleship means follow me, come where I am so I can take you where I live. I am alive in my Word. Read the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew Chapters 5,6 and 7. This is the Sat Nav of discipleship, follow its directions in your life. Quote “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
BISHOP PATRICK Thirdly, MISSIONARY DISCIPLESHIP: that, with a greater recognition of, and openness to, the help, guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we can all become MISSIONARY DISCIPLES; faith-filled, joyful and outward-looking Christians who are growing in confidence to speak humbly of the difference that knowing Christ makes to our lives, and who bear witness to His love in our service of our brothers and sisters, especially those most in need. The service to which Christ calls us is always the action of the Holy Spirit working in us.
Narrator MISSIONARY DISCIPLESHIP
1 Well I’m here and I’m following Him
2 There’s a lot of people about now, you look. Shall we go and hide in a church: I mean people are dangerous!
1 God’s dangerous, take your pick
2 (indignantly) God is love
1 OK, so we’ve got to love all these people
2 ‘Spose so… If you love somebody, you want to do ‘em good. If you saw someone about to tread on a banana skin and go flyin’, you wouldn’t say: ’It’s a free world - go ahead and break yer neck! You’d say: ‘Come this way - yer not obliged to break yer neck! There’s a new opportunity and a new life and its for all of us; Its call Encounter!!!’
BISHOP PATRICK Why do I believe this foundational encounter with the Lord is so important and needs such emphasising? Because without it, we cannot become effective disciples. If we ourselves have not allowed the Lord to invite us into his friendship and to guide our lives through his Holy Spirit, then how can we speak of this to others? It has been my experience over forty years of pastoral ministry that many Catholics dismiss such talk of a personal encounter or relationship with Christ as something Protestant, and so somehow alien to Catholicism.
However, the truth is that the development of a personal relationship with Christ is absolutely central to a Catholic understanding of faith.
So,I ask each of you to join with me, over the next three years, in accepting the challenge of the Gospel to root our lives more firmly in Christ, through engaging generously with these three spiritual themes of Encounter, Discipleship and Missionary Discipleship. -I’m convinced this will help us to face and respond better to the challenges we face as a diocese. Why? Because we will be seeking to know and do God’s will for our diocese and, as we know, “unless the Lord build the house, in vain do its builders labour”.
BISHOP PATRICK May Advent and Christmas be a time when we all encounter afresh the amazing love of
God our Father in sending us his Son, and ponder again on Mary’s openness to receiving
that love. With my prayers and good wishes. AMEN