First of all, what is Alpha? let alone Alpha Course. Simple. Alpha in Latin is ‘the beginning’ or ‘first’. Remember the chorus that goes something like this: “God can do anything, anything, anything. God can do anything but fail. He’s the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul. God can do anything, anything, anything. God can do anything but fail”.
I accepted an invitation to go to the Alpha Course introduction night and supper which essentially was a Christian get-together with food, fellowship and music. The supper was held at the Holy Trinity Swiss Cottage. Swiss Cottage is a town within Borough of Finchley. Inorder to get there, I took the Jubilee Line from Green Park to Finchley Road station. The Church is directly opposite the station. I was glad I went along for the novelty of it and with an open mind. Upon entering the hall I felt at ease and the atmosphere was friendly and warm. After a couple of introductions we headed for the dinner table.
It was a hearty meal and I tucked into it straightaway with two other Alpha Course enthusiasts.
The atmosphere was informal and everyone seemed really friendly. There were people of many cultures, ehtnic groups and ages and many among them were Christians. I was happy and comfortable to be among other Christian believers who are not members of my own Church – the Queensbury Methodist Church.
I was more curious than ever as to what sort of party this was going to be as the band belted out Brazillian jazz numbers – in a church? No I did not really know what to make of it. I decided to go with the flow. I have heard of Alpha courses taking place in various churches throughout London but have never attended one myself. I understand that there are about 10 million people worldwide following and participating in these courses. That’s a lot of people exploring the ‘meaning of life’.
Anyway, as the evening wore on I was confident that I will find out what the Alpha Course is all about. After dinner the Minister of the Church addressed the gathering. It was the most exhilarating feeling.
He introduced himself, the Course and what it is going to be about and outlined the sorts of things one can expect from the Course which will run for about nine (9) weeks here at the Holy Trinity Swiss Cottage. This is an Anglican Church.
I realised that this was a course which can help a Christian grow in their faith as one demystifies the story, the life of Christ and of the existence of God.
I think I will be going back for the rest of the course and meet other Christians who are prepared to openly discuss and grow confident in their faith in God Almighty.
I would highly recommend the course to young and senior Christians who are prepared to delve into the subject that can be baffling at the best of times. Exploring Christ’s life and what it means to us as Christians can be a bit daunting and challenging as most of us are taught to accept our religion as it is and not question it. At first I went on the defensive as I thought it was questioning my Christian belief. However, on the contrary the course will help to unravel the truths that I hold dear in my belief in the Christian faith. The more I know about Christ the more it consolidates my belief in Him. The words of this chorus come to mind as I write this, ” Jesus is the Way the only Way, Lovingly He calls us so the Scripture says, Whosoever will let Him come today, The blessed Jesus is the only Way”. Amen.
For practicising Christians, I think that the Alphas course provides an opportunity and a great way to learn more about the Bible, strengthen one’s faith in God and His Word – the Bible and any other doubts about one’s understanding of God and the life of Jesus, and of Christianity.
I went back last week and this time we discussed ‘Who Is Jesus’. Here is the rest of the programme up to the 9th week.
27 Oct #3 What about suffering?
3 Nov #4 Why did Jesus Die?
10 Nov #5 How reliable is the Bible?
17 Nov #6 Why and how should I pray?
24 Nov #7 How does God guide us?
1 Dec #8 Does God heal today?
8 Dec #9 What about the church?
It seems to me that as one continues to explore the ‘meaning of life’, the Alpha Course provides a brilliant structure for discussion and discourse and helps us to think through some of the hard questions on Christianity, other religeous beliefs and our own spirituality.