I’m just recently back (together with a number of others from church), from Wythenshawe Hospital. Not, thankfully, because of any mishap, but to support Mike our most recent curate, as he was officially licensed to the chaplaincy team there. Part of the charge given to Mike (and indeed to all of us), by the bishop, was that we should try to be or at least represent, Jesus, to those we encounter. Without doubt it’s a daunting task, and certainly not one we could hope to carry out unless we have the spirit of Jesus within us, but I was also struck by the reality that we need to be followers of Jesus before we can ever hope to imitate him.
Last Sunday in our morning service we heard how a young man was also invited to be a follower of Jesus, but only if he was able to walk lightly and open handedly with all the riches he had accumulated. Sadly, both for him, and Jesus, at that particular stage of his life, this was something he was not able to do. We were all challenged as to how “stuff” that we accumulate in life, can if we’re not careful get in the way of our walk with Jesus.
Indeed, as mentioned last week, I’ve been struck by how relevant the invitation issued by Jesus to “follow me” remains relevant, both for us as individuals burt also as a community. So much so indeed, that I am moved to suggest that this should be our motto for the coming year: