The eighth theme we are exploring for #MoreThanSunday is Generations.
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'...let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs...'
Matt 19:14 NRSV
Podcast episode eight: Generations
Coming from a long line of Lithuanian Rabbonim it was always expected that I would follow in the Orthodox Jewish faith as generations of my family before me. Yet often, as a very small child walking home from the synagogue with my father on a Saturday morning I would stop to watch the cars whizzing by on the main road.
'Who are you?' I wanted to shout.
But I never did. And I experienced what I can only describe as a loneliness of heart – a profound longing –that never went away.
I knew nothing of the Christian faith. I had never heard of the Gospel, let alone read it.
In later life, I began to study Literature. Suddenly, here were the Gospel accounts as part of the set reading. I read them over and over again. I loved Jesus immediately: a fellow Jew from my own faith tradition. And that strange loneliness of heart I had experienced all through childhoodand into adult life disappeared.
Matthew's Gospel was my favourite, perhaps not surprising as theologians tell us it is Jewish in character, intended to bring Jews and Gentiles together. What Matthew's Gospel means to me, in my own discipleship, is to hear the truth, and do it, for the Kingdom is our childhood inheritance.
So one Sunday morning, after much 'soul searching', I went to a local church, terrified to walk through the doors. But I did. I was baptised and confirmed in that same church many months later, along with three of my little grandchildren.
Much later, I felt drawn to Reader Ministry. I felt that my commitment to Christ didn't end with Sunday Evensong. To mean anything it had to be an everyday faith, seven days a week. Now I am Reader Emeritus and Hon Chaplain at Manchester Cathedral.
As for generations of Lithuanian Rabbonim and their heritage – they live on in my grandchildren and their life of Christian discipleship. I remember that little girl who used to watch the cars whizzing by on the sabbath, who wanted to shout ‘Who are you?’ but never did. Christ had been present all the time, right from childhood, showing the real meaning of loving communion with all peoples, and everyday life in all its fullness. Only I never recognised it.
There may well be challenges along the way. All I can say, from experience, is that – as disciples travelling together - whatever walk of life you come from - do not be afraid. You will be nurtured and loved beyond your wildest dreams as discipleship grows and impacts on daily life, from one generation to another.
Raylia Chadwick (Reader Emeritus at Manchester Cathedral)
- Volunteer with your church's children’s or toddlers group
- Pray for a younger/older person in church
- Find opportunities for children/young people to be involved in leading worship
- Offer to volunteer at local church school (listening to children read, etc.)
- Visit or take your child to visit an older person in your community who may be lonely or isolated with a befriending charity - https://www.ageuk.org.uk/services/in-your-area/
- Mentor a young person - https://www.urbansaints.org/
- Join a new group a church – like a music or craft group!
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