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St Andrew’s • Cheam

News from St Andrew’s

Craig’s March message

Craig Bowman
Revd Craig Bowman
Family tree

Over the past few years I have become increasingly interested in my family history and have been cooperating with other family members to try and construct our family tree. I recently had a phone conversation with one of my father’s cousins who has undertaken some research and whom I haven’t previously spoken with. In fact I am not sure I have ever met her.

Whilst we were speaking familiar regrets were expressed, which I have also heard from my father - that when they were younger they didn’t take more notice of the exploits of family members who were visiting and more recently they hadn’t take the opportunity to seek information from relatives who are now no longer around.

The Gospel writers seek to provide information about Jesus for his followers who didn’t know him personally. As time went by, of course, this meant more and more people until there came a time when there was no one left who had physically met Jesus. Sometimes I imagine the Gospel writers raising questions similar to those I and my relatives pose: when did he visit a particular place? Who also was there? What was said? Was this before or after he had been to ….?

The Bible, in particular the Gospels but also the New Testament letters, provides us with the information and guidance we need as we seek to be followers of Jesus today. At times it is very clear but often we wish there was more detail and we wish the writers had gone deeper in their research – but maybe, like those of us trying to grasp the intricacies of our family history, they missed opportunities and sometimes recognised the questions they needed to ask after it was too late.

Nevertheless I often wish that I could have met someone who knew Jesus. And then I realise that I have – not just one person but many, many people. The church is full of people who have met Jesus, not physically face-to-face but in their life experiences, prayer life and discipleship. There are people all around us whom we can ask ‘What is Jesus like?’ or ‘What would Jesus want us to do about this?’ That is part of what it means to be the Church – a group of people who together are working out what it means to follow Jesus based on what we know and have experienced of him. It is also a call to deepen our knowledge and experience of Jesus so that, when people ask us ‘What is Jesus like?’, we are able to give an answer.

Craig Bowman

The Revd Craig Bowman is minister of St Andrew’s Cheam and Wallington United Reformed Churches

Posted on 1 Mar 2021