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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

27 May 2015: Rev'd Joanna Farrell, All Saint's Steep and St Peter's High Cross

Come, sit, stay

Rufus is a large, strong, friendly, black Labrador who came to live with us a year ago. He was very much loved by his previous owners but needed a new home when they went abroad to work. Their parting words were, "He could probably do with a bit more training..."

I tried to teach him basic commands on my own but I wasn't very successful. It was just too easy to let him get away with what he wanted to do and not what I wanted him to do. So recently I signed up for proper training sessions with him. That has been a revelation. With the right guidance and the insistence of the trainers Rufus has shown me just what he can do - not only could he be very good, he seems to enjoy the challenge.

Learning how to train, or discipline, my dog has also made me think about discipling. The basis of dog training is that the dog wants to please the owner so when he does something right he gets lots of praise. Discipling in faith is not very different.

St Augustine famously said that "our heart is restless until it rests in you" and learning how to please the God we love can be equally joyful for people. It won't be without effort and constant practice but it is worthwhile. Sometimes the training is concentrated - a study course, a conference, individual direction - and at other times it will be in the course of daily life as we learn to live in peace with our God and with those around us. For Christians the goal is to fulfil Jesus' two commandments, summarised as "Love God" and "Love your neighbour as yourself." Come - to God, sit - and listen, stay - in faith.

All those interested in helping with the PACT Food Bank are invited to an open evening on Monday 1 June to discuss the future of the Food Bank

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