What is ‘The Way of Saint John’ all about? On the surface it is easy to understand. ‘The Way’ was the first name given to Christians – those who initially followed Jesus. This name is a challenge serves as a challenge to us today – there was a particular way of life that was associated with those following Jesus, so much so that they were identified by that way. Today we are likely to be associated by different sets of beliefs, perceived attitudes and religious services. Yet what we all want people to see is Jesus through a people following in His way. This site is for all the people who aim to follow in the way of Jesus in our city ….
Saint John – well, that’s where we live. Story over? Well not quite.
Names have meanings and are associated with the nature of what is being named. We see this constantly in scripture, there is link between the name a person is given and their life.
Saint John is named after Saint John the Baptist. Samuel de Champlain landed at Saint John Harbour on June 24, 1604 (the feast of St. John the Baptist.) In His biography of Champlain, David Hackett Fischer shows that Champlain dreamed of a place of peace in a violent world, intending Canada to be a place of Harmony. This dream for Canada is surely Gods dream from our city too.
John the Baptist, like other prophets before him, was outside of the box. His sole purpose to prepare the way or point people to Jesus. There is a challenge in this identity, are we prepared to posture ourselves to point to Jesus even if we are considered outside the box. Sometimes, the hardest boxes to get outside of are our own! It is important to remember that John the Baptist brought his message to God’s own people who needed their hearts changing in order to recognise Jesus.
Another Saint John
Finally … the icon in the title image is of another Saint John. Saint John the Beloved, famously depicted resting his head on Jesus breast. The Gospel of Saint John suggests a very close loving relationship between John and Jesus. It is only out of love that we will see Unity in the body of Christ. Love for each other, by which others will know we are in the way of Jesus, but more importantly in our own deepening love of Jesus.
If we could be united in any desire and pursuit in the church in our region it would be that each and everyone of us would be “rooted and grounded in love, able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” [Eph 3:17-19]
On the surface, these callings are nothing new to any of us. Following Jesus, preparing our hearts and positioning our lives to point to Him. Loving Him and being filled with His love that flows out to one another and to everyone in our city. Each of us in our church communities and cultures say yes to this.
This site is being developed into a hub for information and resources as we try to move closer together in this pursuit. While maintaining our distinct characteristics, there are things that can be better done together than apart. Some things don’t happen unless we do them together. There is a strength and a blessing when we dwell in unity. Unity is not about us all being the same, it’s about God’s love being a reality and a strong enough glue to bind us together. When we exercise this reality, people don’t see unity, they see Jesus.
We look forward to telling the stories as we continue this journey together.
Jonathan Hallewell, March 2017