Moving through time and space! Theme Roadmap 2023

James Cathcart December 05, 2022 0 0
Moving through time and space! Theme Roadmap 2023


Moving through time and space! Theme Roadmap 2023

by James Cathcart


James looks ahead to some of the themes we are going to be exploring in Sanctuary First next year…

We have reason to take hope! Our God loves us and finds time for us in the midst of everything. Sometimes we are so caught up in the ‘what’ of being Christian that we miss the ‘how’ of being Christian. We need to take time to recharge, refocus, and revisit how we communicate the hopeful legacy we bear of the presence of God’s transformative love.

This is the thematic journey we are currently on at Sanctuary first. We began in November by looking back to rediscover A Legacy Of Hope to inspire and motivate us. Now, in December, we look around Finding Time this Christmas, remembering the incarnation: Jesus’s ultimate gesture of quality time. And then in January we will look forward to think about how we Communicate! what we have come to know. A sequence of past, present, future; of looking back, around, and forward. Our rich diverse heritage and our present lived experience always inform how we communicate with God and one another.

Our faith is never static and our themes give us an opportunity to come to the Bible afresh each month ready to hear what God is saying in the midst of our lives. They are shaped by various things such as festivals, seasons, current events (a pandemic…), and a desire to inspire reconnection and engagement with God in the heart of our day-to-day lives. We often link themes together. Sometimes as defined sequels, or as a callback to a past theme, or simply as a progression of ideas running in the background. We like to vary approaches and formats to keep us on our toes, ready to think outside the box, and to mix metaphors… It’s fair to say we love riffing on an extended metaphor here at SF to inspire creative responses as we wrestle with life, scripture, and faith.

Sometimes we put a theme in a ‘major key’ next to one in a ‘minor key’ to remind ourselves of the breadth of our faith and our human experience. For instance we began 2020 with Making Sense Of It a big bombastic theme engaging our creativity through all our senses and then followed it with A Quiet Life, a thoughtful meditation on the long tradition of quiet reflection and silence that runs through Christian history.

As 2022 draws to a close and we look to 2023 we have decided we want to do more to link themes into mini arcs that help reinforce what we are learning about God as we go. So after January we will begin a new theme sequence: February - April that anticipates Lent, travels through the season, and takes us into Easter.

Prayers for Living will be a series of 28 prayers to prepare and equip us for 28 everyday situations. Our Lent theme The Third Day will seek to cultivate a real understanding of what it means to follow Jesus in today’s world. On Easter Sunday we move from The Third Day to consider All My Days! We will ask what does it mean for Jesus to break into all our days? Having begun with small everyday moments we will end by thinking about the big picture of whole lives and how we might live in response to the heartbreaking, world-saving, incredible gesture of love that Jesus demonstrated on that third day.

Our current sequence Nov-Jan travels through time, while this one will be one of scope, moving from little acts of personal preparation, to the ongoing journey we undertake with Christ and others, and then on to the wide open vista of Easter and how all our days are lived in the sunlight of God’s cosmic love.

But it doesn’t stop there! Keen to get further ahead and sketch out where we head after that, plans are afoot for the following sequence. Having travelled through time and space in the previous six months we are going to zoom in on our identity as loved beings in God’s universe as we go into Summer. It will begin and end with Case Studies (part 1 is Rock, Paper, Scissors, Pegs here) and in the middle we will be taking taking a deep dive into Ephesians to get to grips with the constellation of who we are in… Who are we?

Thanks as always for travelling with us as we ricochet through life with God and one another. Resource packs are already up from now until February, shortly our Lent material will be going up and the rest will follow thereafter.

Grace to you and through you,

James Cathcart