There’s a phrase we’ve started to use to describe ourselves at Sanctuary. When asked who we are and what do we do, we respond with…
We’re a young adult community exploring spirituality, justice and leadership in central London.
But how do we break that down further? Why do we do that? And what does doing it actually look like? Here’s our latest thoughts:
WHAT: Ultimately, what we’re about is following Jesus. We want to figure out how to follow him as closely as possible in 21st century London and encourage everyone else we meet to do the same.
WHY: Why do we follow Jesus? For two primary reasons:
- To “live life in all its fullness.” Jesus promised that those who follow Him experience this (John 10:10). That means eternal life in this life and the next. He promises that those who follow will be with Him in heaven after they die, and that in this life they can experience lives filled with faith, hope, love, joy and peace.
- To “turn London upside down.” The first generation of Jesus’ followers were said to have turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6) – through their allegiance to Him they overturned injustices and power structures, and changed the whole nature of the world for good. So if we do the same, we can see modern day London transformed and turned upside down in the same way.
HOW: And how do we do these things? How do we experience life in all its fullness and turn London upside down? By following Jesus, and by being that community exploring spirituality, justice and leadership described above. Here’s some specific ways we plan to do these three things over the coming year.
Spirituality is all about developing our relationship with God, and Jesus is clearly the expert on how to live in relationship with the Divine. Two of our favourite statements Jesus makes on spirituality…
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
I have come that they may have life in all its fullness. (John 10:10)
And he also told a famous parable about the prodigal son, which teaches us so much on how God wants to relate to us all as Father.
Our commitment to spirituality leads us to pray, worship, trust, rejoice and do all the spiritual practices that Jesus taught. And it also leads to us sharing that message on how to live spiritually with others that we meet.
Jesus was passionate about bringing justice and taught that the way to do this was to overcome evil through love.
Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you… Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:39-44)
He also told the famous parable of the good Samaritan, giving us a vivid picture of how we should love our neighbours as ourselves.
At Sanctuary we give opportunity for members to share their social justice passions, but there are two particular justice issues we will focus on over the coming year:
- Homelessness: This is an issue literally on our doorsteps all over central London. We volunteer regularly at homeless projects like the Open Door Meal and the Westminster Night Shelter. We collect items for the Westminster Foodbank. And we’re starting to consider other things we can do to help those across London who are trapped on the streets.
- Tax Havens: We’ve spent time discussing this issue, and plan to start some serious campaigning on it. If banking and corporate secrecy was ended, it would eliminate so many other injustices around the world; the drugs trade, people trafficking, the arms trade, plus so many dictators and corrupt regimes remain powerful because their money travels freely around the world. Shut this down, and the world would become a better place.
Jesus taught his twelve followers a radical new model for leadership.
You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:42-45)
He also told the famous parable of the talents, giving us a whole paradigm around stewardship through which we should view leadership.
We focus on equipping as leaders through hosting regular training events on Thursday nights, all equipping people to have a bigger influence in their workplace, and with whatever Kingdom projects they may be working on.
If we can achieve progress in these aims of spirituality, justice and leadership, we’ll go a long way towards living life in all its fullness and turning London upside down.
There’s lots of ways you can get involved to help make this vision become reality. Here’s four things we’d love you to consider:
- Set Up: If you’re able to get to Westminster by 6pm on Thursdays, come along to help with set up and prayer before each night begins.
- Roles: We want each member to take on some responsibility or serve regularly in some way. What is it you could do to best add value to the community?
- Invitation: The best way for us to grow is for you to invite your friends, family and work colleagues to come and join us. So do you any people aged 20-40 in London? Why not invite them along?
- Social Media: A great way you can help us get the word out is through your own social media accounts. Are you active on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram? Then do like, share, retweet and engage with the content we put on there.
It’s going to be a fantastic year. Will you join us…?