‘How does Systems Constellations relate to your faith?’ was the question I was asked at a Constellations session and the word that immediately occurred to me was ‘authenticity’. 

Being authentic, being real with God, with oneself and with others is what Christianity is all about for me and becoming authentic is the journey we are invited on in the company of Jesus Christ. My strong impression during my training in Systems Constellations was that I had ‘come home’ in encountering this approach to working with individuals and groups who were seeking deeper understanding of themselves and the situations they were encountering in order to flourish within them. ‘Home’ in the sense of recognising my affinity with the approach, and not being sure why I felt this so strongly. 

It wasn’t until I acknowledged more openly with the group that I was a priest that the connections between Systems Constellations and my Christian faith began to emerge. “The bible is full of systemic sentences”, I was surprised to hear myself saying – then had to take a step back to think about that! Really? Like what? – was the response. Well, like at Jesus’ baptism, when the voice from heaven speaks ‘this is my son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased’, (Mark1:11) was my immediate example. Or the woman taken in adultery (John 8:1-11) where Jesus says to the crowd of angry men ready to stone her, ‘Let the one among you who is without guilt be the first to throw a stone’. One by one they melted away, being confronted with their own truth until Jesus is left alone with the terrified woman. 

The heart of Systems Constellations is an embodied way of exploring what is and accepting the truth of this without judgement that then enables a different way of knowing and a new way of being. On reflecting on this story since, it’s clear that Jesus is setting up a way of knowing that doesn’t just rely on angry words back to them to challenge the men’s hypocrisy and self-righteousness. The men accusing her have to choose how to position themselves in relation to the woman and to Jesus – and they move away! Jesus then stands to face the woman and asks her, ‘has no-one condemned you?’ ‘No-one, sir’, she says. ‘Neither do I condemn you’, says Jesus, ‘Go, and sin no more.’ The woman is disentangled from bearing the judgement and condemnation of the community because in condemning her, they condemn themselves. But the truth of what is, for the woman and her way of being, is acknowledged by Jesus and by her, so that she can find a new way of being in the community based on self respect and acceptance rather than shame and condemnation.