The valley in the hand

The valley in the hand

Do our formulas and systems just get in the way of what lies at the heart of mission?

By Richard Passmore


If I have any “known knowns” it is the reality of Jesus, who walks before, beside and behind me, who encompasses me and who is good news to the depths of my soul.

Smiling man with long hair and beard speaking into microphone in festival tent
Richard Passmore is director of the Northern Mission Centre, a partnership between God for All and CMS.

It is a soul knowledge where definition of who, and how, of why and what fade into insignificance.

It is soul experience of love and care, of positive regard and compassion beyond feelings or formulas.

It is a soul space where deep meets deep with an acceptance that is unconditional and independent of schemas and systems and a call that is too easily reduced to a method and corrupted into a mechanism.

Yet we in our human frailty rely on these methods, definitions, systems and schemas to try to communicate something of that reality that we experience.

We hold stardust in our souls but our words are grains of sand slipping through our fingers.

We feel such welcome in our being but offer a coir mat stamped with a word that cannot possibly convey the depth of acceptance we know.

Our minds are expanded and neurons fizz with an energy that is beyond logic but we offer a recipe that can only be a bland version of the delights we know.

So how do we share this good news, how might we convey that deeply held known?

What can do justice to the story that jumped off the page, out of pulpit, beyond the building and calls all walls to dust?

Might we simply live and try to tell the tale more honestly, more openly bearing witness to the questions we still have and in doing so communicate the deeper truth beyond. Can we seek out the deep soul sparks in others to listen and learn?

Might we let go of our formulas, systems, equations, to be still and still moving as we journey with others and the Other within the lifeline etched like a valley in the palm of Christ’s hand.

Strategic lay pioneer leaders training hub to open in Birmingham

Church Mission Society joins with The United Reformed Church, The Congregational Federation and Seedbeds to launch the ‘Newbigin Pioneering Hub’

Gather: Wild-erness on Anglesey

Get a flavour of the recent pioneer gathering on Anglesey with words by Liz Dunbar and photos by Mark Kensett

Pioneer training open evening – online

Tuesday 12 July 2022, 5.30pm to 6.45pm. Find out more about training at CMS Oxford.

Get our email newsletter:

SIGN UP