This last weekend saw a meeting of the URC Mission Council take place in Swanwick. All sorts of things were discussed from what it means to belong to our church, to the marriage of same sex couples in our churches. We spent time delving into Romans 12, and reflecting some more on what it means to drink deeply from the well of love of God. If you’re interested in what we got up to, our brilliant communications team produced daily updates which you can read over here: Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.
There was this phrase which grabbed, me though, which I wanted to share with you:
It was a throwaway phrase, used in passing. But it struck me as I sat there that this is something that’s a real treasure of the URC.
Arguably, ‘consensus decision making’ is nothing more than a sometimes complex alternative to majority voting. Yet it is also a way of reaching and taking decisions which actively seeks to discern the will of God by listening – truly listening – to one another. And sure, to listen to one another truly – sharing each other’s happiness and weeping – is very difficult.
David Grosch-Miller shared in his closing address the thought that love is one of those slippery words – easily spoken but risky and painful when lived out. Regardless of the decisions we take, Jesus’ call for us to love each other is certainly not an easy one. For centuries, the church has grappled with it. Yet this is exactly what our response to the grace poured out by God out of love for us must be. We must adopt that “consensus mindset”, where we seek to truly listen to each other.
Let’s take that risk. Whether it’s over the colour of the new teacups for our local church or the whole church discerning what it is Christ might have us do next as the Holy Spirit moves and it seems God might just be doing something new. We must seek to love one another.