Monday, 6 June 2011

Twelve Traditions

Gospel John 16:29-33

His disciples said to Jesus, ‘Now you are speaking plainly and not using metaphors! Now we see that you know everything, and do not have to wait for questions to be put into words; because of this we believe that you came from God.’ Jesus answered them:

‘Do you believe at last?
Listen; the time will come – in fact it has come already –
when you will be scattered,
each going his own way and leaving me alone.
And yet I am not alone,
because the Father is with me.
I have told you all this
so that you may find peace in me.
In the world you will have trouble,
but be brave: I have conquered the world.’

Tradition One: Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon Unity

Whilst most people may have heard of the Twelve Steps even if they don't know what they are- very few people outside a Twelve Step programme will have heard of the Twelve Traditions.

The traditions are something like the Rule that is often followed in spiritual groups - except that it is not a rule at all. There is no 'you must' or 'you must not'. They are guides and hopeful desires that, like the communities in Acts, support the faith of the individual and allow the individual to be a creative part of the group. 

There are those who will try to live the Steps without support. There is enough internet information; enough books and cd's to tell you all you need to know; likewise with a life of spirituality. The solitary life can be very tempting if you don't want to be challenged, questioned, asked to move out your comfort zone, or to be noticed when you step out of line. But they are all the wrong reasons for living a solitary life - we need connection; we need fellowship; at the very least we need a few people who know us and share our desires; who will be there when we need them.

And whether in a intimate group of friends or a like-minded community of faith we need to realise that our personal strength is nurtured and comforted by our compassion and responsibility to the shared vision. 

The disciples have reached a moment when the scales have been lifted fron their eyes. They don't need the stories and parables any more - they have made the journey - this is a 'grown-up faith' moment. 

Seeing this, and gently bringing them back to earth, Jesus has to tell them of his leaving. This discipleship is no easy road. But no-one, including Jesus, should imagine that they are travelling it alone. 

Remember this moment and know that it is true but challenges will come; you are together in a unity of belief - there will be days when you think you are alone -in moments of strength and in moments of weakness - but - you will not be alone; I will be with the Father and the Father is eternally present. Your faith in the Father will bring you to my peace. 

As Jesus shares our yoke so it is up to us to share the load with those who need help; through action, through presence, through prayer - for ourselves and each other.

No matter how far we are physically separated from those we share our faith we should remember that our spirits share in the unity of Christ's peace. The peace that the world will never give.



claire said...

This is what I have realized these days, Word: the need to live with others -- to be challenged...

Thank you for introducing these traditions :-)

Jade said...

We are not alone, God travels with us wherever we go... what a wonderful idea! :) And we can imitate the love of Christ by allowing others to feel less alone.