Personal identity is a hot topic in today’s diverse and crazy world. The age of the individual has arrived. From the iPhone to the fashion icon, the focus is on personal satisfaction and happiness. However there is a dark side to all of the talk about identity. Each day thousands of people have their identities stolen. Others try to change their identity in order to ‘fit in’ and to be accepted by those with whom they work or live, others lose aspects of their identity through the changes in personal life circumstances. The truth of the matter is everyone, if honest, will come to the conclusion that knowing one’s self is a life time of learning and it calls for a great amount of humility, to come to terms with the truth about ourselves. Our ‘I’ centred world has not lead to personal happiness, instead it has brought about an illusion that many are beginning to question, seeking out something beyond themselves.
During the month of September Sanctuary First will explore an alternative philosophy of Identity; one built on the notion of knowing self through knowing another. This knowledge is understood through service and sacrifice. The Bible suggests knowledge of ourselves begins with knowledge of God. We can only know who we are, and who we are in relationship with others, when we have a sense of our relationship with God our Creator. It is this knowledge that gives us our own personal worth and significance. It is this understanding that enables us to live in peace and at ease with each other.
Jesus in his teaching known as the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ explains that true happiness comes from an inner knowledge of identity and acceptance.
4 Sept - Understanding Loss - Matthew 5:1-4
Prayers engaging with various aspects of loss that enable us to know ourselves and God in a deeper way. What happens when we are stripped bear of superficial identities?
11 Sept - Understanding Self - Matthew 5:5
Prayers engaging with the idea of contentment perhaps defined by the idea of ‘Living beyond the rat race.’ Reflecting on Paul’s words where he says, he has learned how to be content in all situations.
18 Sept - Passion and Personhood - Matthew 5: 6-7
Prayers surrounding the things that truly matter in life. Surely it is passion for justice, mercy and truth that makes us truly human? In our search for identity Micah suggest what God requires of us. Micah 6: 8
25 Sept - Peacemaking is Personal - Matthew 5: 8-10
Prayers reflecting on the various joys and sorrows and challenges that face the peacemaker. To be a maker of the peace may well be cross shaped.