Last Sunday afternoon, I was invited to preach at the service at Manchester Cathedral launching the Peregrini Community, on the Festival of the Baptism of Christ. Peregrini draws inspiration from Irish wandering monks and the Anglo-Saxon saints St Cedd and St Chad, who continued the tradition of moving from place to place sharing the love of Christ. Both were sent from Lindisfarne.
What excites me about the new Peregrini Community is their commitment to live by the unforced rhythms of grace (Matthew 11:28 from The Message). As they say in their little booklet, ‘it denotes a series of aspirational statements that, when embraced, will nurture spiritual growth, foster Christian discipleship and enable missional encounter.’
So, here are the 5 rhythms which all begin with ‘By God’s grace….:
– I will seek to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.
– I will be open to the presence, guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.
– I will set aside time for prayer, worship and spiritual reading.
– I will endeavour to be a gracious presence in the world, serving others and working for justice in human relationships and social structures.
– I will sensitively share my faith with others: participating in God’s mission both locally and globally.
Aren’t these just brilliant?
I have been thinking about The Message’s wonderful translation of Matthew 11:28 – living by the unforced rhythms of grace. I love it – but what does it mean?
I think we get an idea of what it means when we look at the baptism of Jesus as we glimpse the wonder of the Trinity. It is by God’s grace we are called to join in with the glorious love between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which is a community of self-giving love and joy. The early Christian Fathers used to describe the life of the Trinity as a round dance – a sort of Godly Celidh! It doesn’t matter if we have two left feet for we are all invited to participate. Thank goodness we are not talking ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ expertise here. As David Runcorn says, “it is a dance that is wholly possible because the life of the Trinity is one of pure giving. Nothing is claimed, nothing is demanded, nothing is grasped”.
It is this unforced rhythm of grace that you and I are called into. It is creative, full of self-giving love, and fun. Let’s do it!