“I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8)
This week we celebrated the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul. From that dramatic moment on the road to Damascus Paul’s life would never be the same. And given his effect on Christianity, we can say that the world would also never be the same. Yet I find that quotation a bit scary. It’s that word “nothing” – it’s so absolute. For Paul, there was nothing in the whole wide world more important than knowing Jesus. Does this depth of faith seem way beyond our possibilities – to truly know Christ?
In the last two Sundays’ gospels we have heard about the calling of the Apostles. Why did they do it? Why drop everything, why face an unknown future? At the end of the day, it was quite simply meeting Jesus that made them drop their nets, and leave their counting houses. It was He that reassured them that you did not have to be perfect to follow him, and that He could take care of the future, no matter what it held. Again, it was all about that “knowing Christ”.
Can we join that same journey as the Apostles and St Paul? Yes, we can. So this year we are doing something to help us all on this wonderful adventure of getting to know Our Lord. This week we are starting our “Do You Love Me” project. Over forty parishioners have signed up to follow together the beautiful little book of that name produced under the guidance of the Bishops of England and Wales. This book, I guarantee, will indeed bring you closer to Jesus, help you to know Him better and build a real relationship with Him.
The book is based around the last chapter of St John’s Gospel that I like to call “Breakfast on the Beach”. We are taken step by step through this climactic scene as the apostles encounter the risen Jesus, and Peter faces his three denials and experiences being rebuilt by just one question: “Do you love me?”
The project is not complicated. Every person reads a chapter at home then meets in small groups of about six to share their thoughts. Each group sets its own timescales. If you would like to be part of this project for 2018 and have not yet signed up, it’s not too late as we can make up new groups. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org