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  • Writer's pictureRev. Justin Montague

In Jesus' Wake

Rev. Justin Montague shares why following in the 'wake' of Jesus, is an essential part of discipleship.

This summer has seen an abundance of different vessels moving through the waters of the Grand Western Canal in Tiverton. Kayaks and swans, boats and ducks, increasingly popular stand-up paddle boards and the returning horse-drawn barge after a Covid-19 absence. On a particularly lethargic running morning, I often wonder whether it would be quicker to leap into the water and swim my way home!

You can tell a lot about a vessel by the type of ‘wake’ it leaves in the water, such as its depth, width, size, power and speed. When a solid object like a swan or a boat moves through the water, it displaces the water creating a special type of wave called a ‘wake.' The wake is caused by the surface of the boat pushing the water out of the way.

A great tip for swimming in a race in the open water is to position yourself in the ‘wake’ of someone in front, either directly behind them, or at their hip, following in the area of their displaced water. This is known as ‘drafting’ and the energy saving is exponential. It works in a rather similar way, when you observe a large group cycling (instead this time with air rather than water).

Throughout the gospels we hear Jesus calling people to ‘follow-me.' He calls us to be his disciples, that is his followers. He is saying ‘keep close to me,' ‘walk with me.’ To follow Jesus is to stay in his ‘wake.' It is place of strength, of peace, of comfort and the safest place to be in the storms, on the mountain tops and in the valleys that we may walk through in life.

Perhaps like me, sometimes you find yourself moving a few paces ahead of Jesus, trying to get to the place you think you should be too quickly. Or perhaps falling back behind Jesus, looking back to the past and still holding onto yesterday? Maybe you find yourself drifting away from Jesus' side from time to time?

Part of discipleship involves our daily walking with Jesus and keeping close to him. We can nourish this through prayer, through scripture, our worship and being ‘church’ together as people of faith. This also includes actively pursuing those things we each feel personally enables us to ‘connect with Christ,' for example silence, stillness, solitude, or finding space simply to ‘be’ with Jesus. At a time when so much has changed, I believe intentionality is vital for us all in this new season to either re-establish old or discover new rhythms for our spiritual health.

As we return to St Paul’s for this ‘Back to Church Sunday,' we will each have different stories and personal experiences of the pandemic that will have shaped and changed our own lives in many ways. Let us once again be Jesus’ people who share life closely with one another, as we weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. May we heal together, grow together and walk forward together in the ‘wake’ of Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, to share abundantly His gracious Good News of hope, joy and love with our community and the world.

Grace and Peace,


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