I love to go barefoot.
Somehow free toes signal to my brain that it is ‘my time’. For years now I have regularly kicked off my shoes around my carpeted home. It is safe and predictable ground.
But more recently my bare feet have taken me beyond the artificial. Like many others I have taken up the art of barefoot running.
A mere six months later and my unshod feet have taken me further and over more diverse terrain than I ever imagined. The times I run bring me closer to God and creation all the while keeping me – quite literally – in touch with the earth. It is a humble and grounded style of running.
And the experience is becoming for me something of a parable – expressed through a website.
Like going barefoot, I hope Barefoot Follower: Inviting Reflection on the Stories of Jesus is life-giving enough to become a place to go when it is ‘your time’. I imagine these stories, reflections, and prayers accompanying through life’s varying terrain – familiar, adventurous, perhaps even dangerous places.
I pray they draw you deeper into God and God’s gift of life than you ever imagined. In my experience, within the gospels – and indeed the rest of the Bible, are stories with the potential to keep us earthed, grounded, humble.
So, to this end, Barefoot Follower offers each week one, two or three reflections on either the gospel or new testament reading set for the coming Sunday, the sermons they inspire, and prayers based around the daily readings.
Of course there are many lectionaries communities choose to follow. Given that I live down-under, I choose to follow An Australian Lectionary: A Prayer Book for Australia (Broughton Publishing). For those who follow this Barefoot Follower may prove helpful in preparation for corporate worship. Of course, it is not necessary to be using this system to use the site.
The reflections are not intended to be verse by verse commentary – they are somewhat rawer. Rather they seek to hold both the value of careful reading alongside the value of imagination. The respectful reading, to my mind, seeks first to identify the story a text tells. If it is faithful to the nature of ‘story’, however, it will always invite more – for every good story is an invitation for our imaginations to take flight. I see no good reason to read these stories differently.
So who am I?
I am a follower (or student) of Jesus. I am also an Anglican minister in the Parish of St Barnabas, Charnwood and Hall in Canberra, Australia (www.mikeandbarnys.org.au). This, however, is not my core motive – I have been enthralled by the stories of Jesus for much longer than I have been ordained or led a church. Indeed, they have captured and held my imagination for well over half my life. I remain, before anything else, a follower of Jesus.
So, it is my hope and prayer that whoever you are and wherever you are coming from you might find something earthy, thought-provoking and life-giving in these readings and their reflections. I hope they amount, not to an angry cursing of the darkness, but to a joyful celebration of the light.
May they add to your journey.