This Sunday was significant as a call for us all to step into the next chapter of our journey as a community. Wherever you are in the world, we hope that it will be a call to you as well as we continue our quest for a brand new day.
"Freedom, you see, has got our hearts singing so joyfully!"
The movie, Braveheart, has always been significant for us at Q, and the fight of the Scottish people, led by William Wallace, against the tyranny of the English armies, is a powerful metaphor for our fight for freedom against the tyranny of the religious spirit.
The story of the Hebrew patriarch, Abraham, is another "Braveheart" story.
Abraham, who was from what is now Iraq, was once called Abram, until God gave him a new name, inserting the name of God,"Yah" into his old identity. What a powerfully, beautiful way of identifying that God wasn't someone "out there" but that the divine was at the core of who he was.
The apostle Paul had caught the same message when he wrote "Christ in you, the hope of glory." And Jesus spoke about how the kingdom of God is within you.
"Leave your country, your people and your father's house and go to a land I will show you."
The fascinating thing about this instruction that God gave to Abraham is that he was instructed to set out on a journey for an unspecified destination, trusting that God would show him the way.
The book of Revelation refers to Jesus being "The one who was and is and is to come." This is the model for all faith: "You go, I'll show!"
The instruction to Abraham also specifies three influences in our lives that we need to leave behind in order to move beyond the management of our lives and instead experience movement in our lives. Those influences may have been good at the time and had brought Abraham to where he was, but they were now holding him back from who he needed to become and where he needed to be.
Abraham's father had three children, and one, Haran, had died. Interestingly, the place where Abraham heard this instruction from God was called Haran. Maybe Abraham's father was struggling to move beyond this pain in his life. He was stuck at the point of his pain and disappointment.
So, what do "country, people and father's house" represent for us?
Country: That which dictates our "normal". If you grew up in a church, this could be "the common narrative" of Christianity.
People: Our tribe, that we develop and defend.
Father's House: That from which we've developed our identity and security. This is probably the hardest thing for us to leave because it means digging up our roots. We say things like "But we've always done it this way! This is just who I am! This is what we do here!" But unless we're willing to change and grow we'll never move beyond our present condition.
These things have shaped our preferences, which seem to us like the right way of living life, so much so that we fight to defend them!
The change we're looking for in life requires more than simply tinkering with our developed beliefs. It requires a radical move into faith and a paradigm shift of how we look at world, whilst all the while carrying with us an inner conviction that all will be well. This is the culture of Q. Not settling down, building and managing a static temple that marks who we've always been, but being flexible pioneers, living in tents, ready to move on to the next step of our journey.
To start this journey we need courage. Faith will help along the path, but unlike beliefs, faith isn't a destination, faith is a journey towards something.
As William Wallace said to the Scottish army:
"Run, and you'll live... at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM!"
Here at Q we've been brought to a place of freedom from the dogmas of religion, but the challenge to us now, is "What will we do with that freedom?"
In the Braveheart story, the passion of William Wallace was to lead his people to freedom from the tyranny under which they'd suffered for years.
So, what is the tyranny that we're wanting to lead people to freedom from as a community?
It's the religious spirit, with all its "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts" that restricts and controls people with fear and shame and dictates how they must live if they want to be deserving of love, blessing and favour.
We want to free people into a walk of relationship, where God is not a slave master, but a father and even better, a friend. After all, we can't choose our family, but we have been chosen as friends.
We have a choice under the challenge of every change: To live in pity or to live in potential.
Is our response to change "It's a pity that..." or do we see the potential of all that is possible?
Even after his betrayal and failure to follow Wallace into battle, there was another chapter for Robert the Bruce. He picked up the cloth that symbolised Wallace's reason for fighting and carried it with him as he continued Wallace's legacy, fighting for freedom and defeating the English at the Battle of Bannockburn. When it comes to the future of our community here at Q, the question that comes to each of us is "Have you picked up the cloth?"
In Hebrews 12 the writer says "Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
Forrest ran and people followed and the journey brought hope to innumerable people. There came a time when he decided he was tired and it was time to go home and rest and see what the rest of life held for him. The crowd following him then had to answer their own question: "What are we supposed to do now?"
As Anth retires for a well deserved rest, after a whole life serving our community, it's important for us all to ask "What are we supposed to do now?" Are we "carrying the cloth"? Are we ready to leave our country, people and father's house in order to continue this quest of faith to bring freedom from the tyranny that people are suffering under?
"I hold this hope: That future generations will learn to guide people beyond obsession with beliefs and into faith. Faith that breathes meaning into life, faith that flows through consciousness, faith that joins the dots through the number "next". I do not regret my journey because I do not regret who I have become. Faith and doubt, together, have made me who I am. I wouldn't want to live without either. I continue to join the dots."
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