How can we listen well to each other?
How can we love as Christ loves?
We are given a powerful insight during the Last Supper, where we see Jesus inviting the disciples into the space by removing his outer robe and kneeling to wash their feet. When he finishes, Jesus says:
"So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set an example, that you also should do as I have done to you." John 13:13-14.
Our participation into the triune God – Jesus’s gift to us – further emphasises this example. As we are drawn into the communion of love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit through prayer and worship, we in turn commit to the covenant relationship of mutual, self-giving love. This participation into the triune God, such an amazing privilege and so foundational in our Baptist ecclesiology, commands us to love one another as Christ has loved us.
A key aspect of washing each other’s feet is being fully present and attuned to each other’s needs, and we can only do this by listening well: listening to each other’s stories; listening to each other’s concerns; listening to each other’s experiences. And being in covenant relationship means listening to God as we do so.
So that’s why this section of the website has an emphasis on listening. It is designed to help us listen well to each other, a desire we have heard repeatedly across our Union in 2020. You may hear voices you disagree with or perspectives you hadn’t come across, but you will encounter a space that emphasises a process of listening. In a world of noisy echo chambers, can we model something different and make space to genuinely listen to each other, to the cry of our communities, and to God?
This section features listening resources, perspectives on areas of our shared life where there may be pain and disagreement, as well as insights into missional listening. It is a work in progress: if you have found a particular resource helpful as you have journeyed with others to enable listening, please do share it with us. If there is a perspective missing, let us know.
Our prayer is that together we may find ourselves kneeling before others, washing their feet, listening carefully to their story and participating in the never-ending love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.