Young person, holding his chin and looking down, while on an Urban Saints Camp this summer


23rd Dec 2021

One of the big questions that we all face, and particularly young people, is ‘What is our identity?’ At a recent Team conference we looked at ‘Who we are in God’, reading from Matthew 5. This is where Jesus starts to speak about the kind of kingdom that God is establishing. When reading it, I don’t get the sense of it being harsh, but I do get the sense of hope, peace and love. This is so different to what God’s people of the time were looking for in their Saviour. I also get the sense that this is going to be good news but news which is going to be hard for some, particularly those who think they hold power over people. In short, it turns what we think is a successful looking kingdom on its head.

In verse 9 it reads “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”. In Jesus’ time it was the Roman Emperor who was called ‘the peacemaker’ and so ‘Son of God’. But Jesus’ blessing counterculturally downsizes these imperial titles and awards them to all the little people of the world who make peace within the home or church. In English the word ‘peace’ can refer to inner peace or tranquillity, or to an outer state of ‘absence of war’. But the biblical word that is used is ‘Shalom’ which conveys the picture of a circle; it’s a picture of comprehensive well-being in every direction. It depicts a circle that embraces the whole community, internally and externally, and puts people who are at peace in right relations with their community, the people close to them, themselves and God. If it made sense, Matthew 5:9 could be translated into “Blessed are the circle makers”.

This leads me to something we are exploring at Urban Saints, Togetherness. We joined together at our 24/2 event from 28th to 30th October as a key part of our commitment to pray. Prayer is essential and we try and pray together regularly asking God to bless our Groups, volunteers and young people. Praying that we would all join in with what God is doing in reaching this generation of young people. Thank you to all who set aside time to pray over those 48 hours - Groups, individuals, church partners, those here and overseas who took it in turns to lift up the needs of the movement to God.

Prayer is essential and we try and pray together regularly asking God to bless our Groups, volunteers and young people.

Our time culminated in the last hour with what we called ‘Together 2021’ - a time when we heard stories about the Groups and Camps from the last year. We celebrated what God has been doing and is continuing to do for and with young people through our Leaders. We also took some time to pray for Groups and Camps and the Leaders and young people engaged in both, and to thank God for who He is and for the mission He calls us into. We are so grateful for such an act of faith and unity.

So, from that place of gratitude please make yourself comfy and as you take a look through the other pages in our News feed, wonder at the goodness of being one of God’s children living in His Shalom.

God bless you!

Ant Horton
Chief Mission Officer