Speer Road Church
(United Reformed Church)
The Last Word
Have you heard of Maria Skobtsova? I hadn’t until I listened to Revd Dr Rowan Williams at the United Reformed Churches Ministers gathering at Stone in Staffordshire. Rowan Williams used the stories of three little known women to illustrate what discipleship means, if you want to find out her complete story put her name into an internet search engine. She was born in 1891 and grew up in a time of revolution in Russia, for various reasons in 1923 she fled Russia with her children to Paris where she set up a home of hospitality welcoming other Russian exiles. Though in her youth she adopted Atheism as she got older she discovered a faith in Christ until eventually she became a nun in 1932.
Mother Maria welcomed all refugees into her home and when Jews started to arrive in Paris she welcomed them as well, including providing them with false Baptism certificates so they could escape. This led to conflict with the Nazis occupation force and she was eventually taken prisoner and executed in Ravensbrück concentration camp in 1945. Her story is known through her writings; she had definite ideas about church and the faith and was seen as radical in the way she behaved.
There are many stories like Mother Maria’s. They are stories of people who discovered a purpose and direction in their lives because of what they read in scriptures and the faith they had in Jesus. When we hear such stories we probably think I couldn’t do that, I couldn’t live that kind of life, God doesn’t ask us to live that life, he asks us to live our life in response to his calling where we are. We are called to be a disciple, that is a follower of Jesus, people who live out the love of Jesus day by day all of us can do it and then we become one of the people with a story of discipleship