Chair's September Blog - The Return
“On their return the apostles told Jesus all they had done.” Luke 9:10
My daughter says that the best thing about ‘going for a run’ in the morning is telling everyone about it afterwards! I know what she means. There is a real pleasure in recounting our adventures. We re-live them again in the re-telling and there’s always the opportunity to embellish them so that the memories grow sweeter, or funnier, or more disastrous with each telling.
What a coming together again it must have been when ‘the twelve’ gathered again. What stories they had to tell. We can just imagine them talking over each other excitedly - “ we did this!”, “well we did that!”, vying with each other for Jesus’ attention and approval. Perhaps it was complete pandemonium. Perhaps that’s why they agreed to go somewhere quiet together where they could reflect on what had just happened, somewhere where they could enter a graced period of storytelling.
And that’s where we are now. Our summer adventures are over. The reports of the summer weeks are being drafted as I write and we are left with the books of notes, the photographs, the artefacts and the humming of songs half-remembered from beautiful shared and inclusive liturgies. Oh the tales we could tell, if only they would listen!
We have a friend who stays with us for a couple of nights each week during term time. Last night he reappeared at our supper table after a six week absence. He had travelled far and we spoke about foreign places and the skills of sailing. It was the grace period, the first meeting, the time before ‘real life’ rushes in and steals the last notes of that wonderful song we sang, but can’t quite remember.
How frustrated the apostles must have been when the “crowd found out about it, and followed them”. This was supposed to be their time, but the day job was back, with a vengeance. How could they hold onto the excitement and wonder they had felt when everything Jesus had taught them began to make sense? How could they extend that period of grace and refreshment in the midst of their busy lives? But we know the answer - by telling and re-telling the stories with those who were there, and those who were not. Long before the Gospels were written, they were told, over and over again. And the grace of their telling spread “in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”.
And we have the same option. May you enjoy this period of Grace when we return to our communities refreshed, and pour back into them what we have received, because, as any journalist will tell you, there is nothing as powerful as the testimony of a first-hand witness.
The Northumbrian Community have a beautiful blessing, as part of their Morning Prayer, which captures the wonder of travel and the joy of homecoming.
May the Peace of the Lord Christ go with you
Wherever He may send you,
May He guide you through the wilderness,
protect you through the storm,
May He bring you home rejoicing,
at the wonders he has shown you,
May he bring you home rejoicing,
once again within our doors.
Welcome Home everyone - now the real work begins!
- Anne Dixon, CPW Chair