Ta-da! A drum roll please! Last night I, at the age of 60 plus, attended my first ever Alpha course.
I’ve heard about Alpha for many years now, and I’ve known several folk who’ve attended and have been helped by it, so when our church announced it was running a course again this year, I decided to go along.
I appreciate that some folk might ask, “Is Alpha not very basic for someone like me who has known a faith walk of forty plus years,” to which I would reply, “perhaps.” However, if last night’s first session is anything to go by it seems that Alpha is for all and anyone: those with no faith and who are searching, or those who like me who just feel a need within to go back to the very basic tenants of my faith as a reviving of foundations.
Recently I had a chance encounter with an eighty-year-old gentleman who delighted me with some of his life stories, and who then almost wistfully said, “I do wonder if there isn’t more to life than what I’ve known?” Another person I know who is in their seventies has several times of late, told me that they are only now starting to understand that above all else, the Father’s deepest desire is for a relationship with His children, above any “doing” they might “do” for Him.
And my own truth is that having recently prayed that I want to “finish well” I feel that in order so to do, I just need to go back, so that I can then go forward. A book I’m reading just now is called, “Falling Upward,” by Richard Rohr and has the tagline of “a spirituality for the two halves of life” which has nothing at all to do with age, and everything to do with the reality that, in Rohr’s opinion, we spend a certain amount of time discovering who we are, in order to then “let go” in order to discover who we really are!
It’s so tempting to wear those “I’m fine” masks, and to not to share the gritty bits, isn’t it? And actually I don’t think we do always need to be wearing our hearts on our sleeves all the time, but for the purpose of trying to be real with my blogging, I’m choosing, to do so in small measures where I think it may help others. Well as I’ve shared previously, my own story is, that in my determination to project “I’m fine” to the world at large, I got stuck and sunk fairly low! Thankfully, as I’ve also said before, I had the help of a wonderful Christian counsellor who helped me to become unstuck, so that now, I really am more comfortable in my own skin and am feeling the need less and less to wear those same “I’m fine” masks all the time.
All of which brings me back to my reason for deciding to do the Alpha course now. In truth, I am tired of the masks which are still present. I’m tired of too much head knowledge not being accompanied by a deeper heart knowledge. I truly want to be able to give account for this faith I profess, and more than that, I want my living this Christian life to be a very real aroma of Christ to all I meet and especially my family. And if that means that in order to move forward I first need to go back, then so be it.
Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. (1 Peter 3:15 the message translation)
And how was Alpha? Honestly? Well after the first session last night I’m really looking forward to the journey now! Any updates you need to know I’ll keep you posted on!!
And so we pray….
Father thank you for the seasons in our lives when we can be still, even stopping at times to consider our past, not to dwell there, but so that we can then move forward. Thank you for the resources, such as the Alpha course, available to us to help us on our way, mindful that all the courses in the world will change us not one jot unless we choose to change and we are willing to let go in our moving on. We long to be ready in all seasons, to tell anyone who asks why we have chosen this man Jesus as our Saviour and our hope. Why we believe that Jesus is the only way, only truth, and only life- will you help us? This day we thank you for the reminder in your word which tells us that you as Alpha and Omega God are both our beginning and our end, and also our faithful companion for all days in-between. Any questions we need to ask, help us to have courage so to do, mindful always that you are God and we are not!
And so we simply ask once more, that you would still our hearts with a knowing that you know, and in this day for that to be enough. Thank you Father. Amen.
Yours in Him,
Once again I am adding a postscript here to encourage any folk who might happen upon this blog, and who may be “stuck” to please try and get some help. Find someone who will listen, a friend, or perhaps a Christian counsellor, who will show you how to move forward. It most certainly won’t be easy and it will take guts but like I’ve said before asking for help- that takes real courage – so go ahead: take just one step this day and ask!