I partcularly have liked his recent post, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic as I think many will find this helpful. As for me, personally, I had not thought of this defining part of our liturgy in terms of relationship. I am particularly struck by Mark’s definition of ‘apostolic’ as being ‘about our relationship with context, with the world and with God’s KIngdom in it’.
I think that hits it on the head for me. Relationships take time and a relationship with our context, the communities we find ourselves in, possibly take longer to develop, than a relationship with another human being. Getting to know one person, to understand what makes them tick, to earn trust and to trust can take an age. How much longer with a whole community of lots of persons responding and relating to each other?
It takes a lot of patience and time to really listen and to learn from the place we find ourselves in. I think it takes a commitment and a vulnerability of great cost which you are not really aware of until it hits you. That costs is a cost of time, a cost of reputation, a cost of misunderstanding and sometimes, as I speak from personal experience, a cost of (losing) friendships. But it is worth it.
I shudder at quick fix solutions. Over the last four years I have had many conversations and people have seemingly been looking for quick fix ‘secrets’. But there are none. If we are really going to ‘reach’ people with the gospel we cannot expect a quick fix one size ‘something’ to be right for every person in every community. One size does not fit all, we do not all need or want exactly the same thing, despite what many advertisers try to tell us! But … it is easier to take something ‘off the shelf’ or use something you have seen working down the road and get instant results than it is to simply wait, look and learn.
But …. as apostles … as those looking to build relationships with our context … waiting, looking and learning is all we really have.