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Take Another Road (06-01-23)

Follow The Star: An Invitation to Take Another Road

Today's reflection is written by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury.


Many years ago I encountered a religious community cold ‘Chemin Neuf’. It's a Roman Catholic community, but people join from different Christian denominations, living together to witness to the God who calls each of us.

‘Chemin Neuf’ is French for ‘new way’. I naturally assumed that this referred to the radical new way that they had chosen to live together. ‘No,’ I was told. ‘New Way’ was actually the name of the road in Lyon, France, where the first ‘Chemin Neuf’ community was founded.

And yet they do represent a new way. It's a way of living in community across difference and disagreement. That's why, when I became Archbishop of Canterbury, I invited them to begin a new ecumenical community at Lambeth Palace: The Community of St Anselm.

Bible Reading: Matthew 2:9-12

When the wise men had heard the king they set out, and there ahead of them went the star they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house they saw the child, with Mary his mother, and they knelt down and paid homage. Opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And, having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.


A new year is often seen as a chance to begin a new way. When the foreign magi came to worship Jesus, the message is clear, that Christ is not just for one particular group of people. He has come to save us all. That means we are called to a new community to which everyone is invited, the only thing we need to have in common is the Christ-child.

Members join the community of St Anselm from different cultures all over the world. it is not always easy, but in serving Jesus together, they have chosen a radical new way.

We can all choose that new path this year: of loving people who are different to us, of building kinder communities and of following Christ again


Jesus invites us into relationship, with him and with others. Is there someone in your life, perhaps someone you disagree, who you might make a particular effort to reach out to?


Lord Jesus, gather us together before you, guide us in a new direction, and give us your peace throughout this new year.


As with gladness, men of old

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