Jesus: central to our faith

Bishop Justin Duckwoth
Bishop Justin Duckworth

Greetings Family

I have been reflecting this month about the centrality of Jesus to our faith. I was impacted when I sat through three different talks by gifted Anglicans. All talks were inspirational and had great content; they all talked about the parables, teaching and ethics of Jesus. However in each case I can’t remember Jesus actually being mentioned by name. It made me reflect on my own life, whether my faith has become a “formula” based on Jesus but no longer actually connected to Him.

As a follower of Jesus I am more convinced than ever that the core of our faith must revolve around Jesus. It has been my pleasure to be involved in a few Confirmation services in this last month. I particularly remember wonderful services at All Saints’, Palmerston North, St James’, Lower Hutt, St Philip’s, Stokes Valley and St Peter’s, Pahiatua. It was a great privilege to set these people apart as they commit themselves to following Jesus for life. To pray afresh for each of them that God’s Spirit would empower them in emulating the way of Jesus and strengthening their relationship with the living God. Each Confirmation reminds me of my own life commitment to follow Jesus where ever he leads, and to willingly embrace the joy and struggles of that calling.

I would encourage us all, as we head into Advent, to reflect on the centrality of Jesus to our lives. As Anglicans it would be great if we were not primarily known for our great church services, our slick programmes, our wonderful Choirs or even our compassionate social services; but for being people of Jesus.

What excites me at the moment is the courage shown by the Wanganui Archdeaconry. As a family they have undertaken to do a significant makeover of the Raetihi Vicarage. I even believe that John Rowan had Bishop Mwita Akiri from Tanzania up there helping! I am planning to join the youth of the Diocese in lending a hand on 10 and 11 December. I find these times often the richest times: joining with other followers of Jesus, rolling up our sleeves and getting stuck in to make a tangible difference. Returning the Vicarage to a livable standard will enable us to place a gifted Missioner in our Northern most Parish. When I talk to Archdeacon Elizabeth Body I am overwhelmed with the stories of God’s provision through God’s people. A loaf and a fish here and there, and slowly the place is being transformed – one small miracle of generosity at a time. Well done Family.

May you be captivated once again by the passion, person and mission of Jesus.

+Justin