During the Northumbria Week at IBTS, a number of us, including all CATs, have been involved in thinking through the way how our worship relates to our spirituality, and in working creatively on arranging sacred spaces which would help us – and others – to see God and God’s work from a different perspective. Experiencing these sacred spaces was the focus of the last evening together with friends from Northumbria. Below are some impressions and thoughts of the CATs from the week:
I wanted to start from thanking God for all this week…. I really liked the thought that all our life is like a prayer. I was so near God in the prayer especially when we were in the street [during the prayer awareness walk through Prague].
IBTS prepared us for the Northumbria week, and indeed I was excited and waiting for them. It was not a usual week or just a week “without homework”. After this week, I realized how as Christians we must live as a community and share together but at the same time, be open to the world and reach it. Like [one of the students] said in class: there should be a golden middle between these two. We should give an equal space for both of them in our lives.
I think that Northumbria community is a good example of how the experience of the past could be used nowadays with the great consequences. It is true that many un-churched believers are looking for spiritual home. Communities like Northumbria Community could be such place. I liked the idea about ‘dispersed’ community, because not all the people could move to the UK in order to be part of the community but many companions and friends in community live all over the world. It is also good that it is the place where believers and unbelievers can meet and have relationship. It is good that people can start with belonging. And then believing and behaving will come as the possible consequences. I also liked that we had three opportunities for prayer in different time of the day. In the morning when we are about to start the day, in the midday when we are little bit tired and needs God’s guidance and in the evening before preparing for rest.
This community and this experience of Northumbria community encouraged me to have the same experience in my home community, but I think it has to be done in the particular way.
To be honest, this week was really challenging for me in many ways. It resumed in me a desire to seek God, to seek Him every day and every minute. We prayed a lot and for so many different things, for each other, for the world… The idea of sacred spaces helped me to concentrate on Christ and His offering more deeply.
During this week and especially during the worship time around different sacred spaces, I started to think about time when I will leave IBTS. I hope that until that time I will gain as many good habits for later as I can.
Poverty and the followers of God. They show how many times God talks about the poverty in the Bible. Jesus was with poor people more than with others. It is good to be alongside the poor bringing to them hope.
I like the idea of concert in the Jeneralka restaurant. It was a good way to spread the Gospel. Jesus works outside, not only in the church.
I like that they made an emphasis on relationship rather than reputation. This point is very important for nowadays Christian life.
It was really interesting for me to discover the stream of new monasticism and this idea of reviving traditions. For me all the Celtic traditions were totally unknown. They way of living the gospel which is inspired from the Johannine tradition gave me also a better understanding of the emphasis on the gospel of John. What really touched me was the lecture of Ken about “God of the poor” because it reminded me my duty of caring for others especially because of my origins. In fact as I travelled through Africa I was struck by the living condition of people and I understood that I was more lucky to have had an education than those who didn’t leave the country. It encouraged me to respond to my call of going back and help people to live in a better condition. I wish I would have the opportunity to bring these ideas of sacred place in my home church and I am convinced that the new monasticism is one of the ways of fighting against the individualism.
I like the stress on hospitality. I think that church has a lack of hospitality now. Hospitality to each other, hospitality to unbelievers. But it is also very important part of our Christian life.