Revelation 1:8 ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
Discipleship is a learning word before it is anything. If we have heard about the person of Jesus and been gripped by his story and his life, we will be curious.
If we believe that God is still at work in the world, and has not abandoned it through boredom or exasperation… If we believe that God is still at work in the world at all, we will want to know where and how.
We will watch the great cataclysms and wars and sufferings of our world (and the blessings too) and we will interrogate our faith by what we plainly see. And what we see we will question with a posture of faith. Church that is alive at all, is curious.
A society that is growing and open to change asks questions of itself and its story. A person who can change and grow, and has not given up, will inevitably be interrogating their own experience, asking “what does it mean?” and “what must I do to be faithful?”.
John Hull’s book “What Prevents Christian Adults from Learning?” notes that aspects of Christian faith inhibit us from growth. But he challenged his readers to see Jesus Christ, God and humanity as partners-in-learning in a not-quite-fully-determined world where God delights to share in the unfolding of history alongside us.
To say that God who has an unchangeable purpose of love, which God works out in interaction with creation, does not have to imply that God simply sits back and merely observes a pre-written script being played out. Incarnation belies this. God who is, was, and is yet to come, is present with us, inviting us to a dance of learning, exploration and action that means something. This is the dignity of discipleship.
Alpha and Omega: outside our times, yet fully present to us help us to understand that our lives matter, that growth and change is our calling – as individuals, as church. Make us curious about you, about ourselves, about our world and our calling in it. Amen.
The Rev’d Dr John McNeil Scott is the Principal of the Scottish College (United Reformed and Congregational) and a member of Shawlands URC in Glasgow.
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