The Reason the Church is Here….
Devotional Thought of the Day:
17 When they saw him, they fell at his feet in worship, even though some of them struggled to trust Him. 18 Jesus went to them and said, “I have been given all responsibility in heaven and on earth. 19 You area going disciple people of all cultures: by baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 20 and instructing them to treasure this covenant relationship I committed to with you! And I am with you ever day, for forever.” Matthew 28:17-20 (parker’s paraphrase)
To be a disciple of Jesus means that we can and must follow a way that is directly opposed to our own natural gravity, to the gravity of egoism, to the search for what is merely material and for the maximum pleasure that we confuse with happiness. Discipleship is a way through agitated, stormy waters that we can follow only if we are in the gravitational field of the love of Jesus Christ, if our gaze is fixed on him and therefore supported by the new gravity of grace that makes possible for us the way to truth and to God that we would have been unable to follow by our own efforts. That is why being a disciple of Jesus is more than concurrence with a definite program, more than sympathy and solidarity with a person whom we regard as a model. It is not just Jesus, a human being, that we follow; we follow the Son of the living God. We follow a divine way. Where does Jesus’ way lead us? It leads us to the Resurrection, to the right hand of the Father. It is this whole way that we mean when we speak of following Christ as his disciple. Only thus do we journey the whole way of our vocation; only thus do we really reach the goal of undivided and imperishable happiness. And only from this perspective do we understand why the Cross is also a part of our discipleship as followers of Christ (cf. Mk 8:24). There is no other way for us to come to the Resurrection, to the community of God. We must follow the whole way if we want to be servants and witnesses of Jesus Christ. And every single step is different depending on whether we intend to go the whole way or merely to carve out for ourselves a kind of human party program. We can come to Christ only if we have the courage to walk on the water and to entrust ourselves to his gravity, the gravity of grace.
I have to start with a disclaimer. I want to write nothing about this post, save what you see above. The charge for us to disciple the world, by helping people enter into a relationship as part of the people of God, and then to teach them to treasure this covenant relationship, this relationship based on God’s plan, on His terms, for Hs is God. That is the work of the church that is how we are to love our neighbor; that is the work of God, or as my favorite pastor/author noted, the Opus Dei.
These words of Cardinal Ratzinger in blue (later Pope Benedict XVI) are an incredible description of that relationship, this discipling process. Go back and read them again. Go ahead, go do it. And again, savor the words describing your relationship with God, as you are pulled into this incredible.
But is this what we are about in the church?
Is this what we value in our own lives personally? Do we understand this incredible, blessed fellowship we have been brought into with the Father, Sona nd Holy Spirit?
We need to, and we need to get that this is far more than obeying laws and commandments (though that is part of it). It is, to use the Old Testament prophecies, the very “being” that is knowing that we God has made us HIs people, and He is our God.
This is what is revealed, from the very beginning to creation to each time someone is baptized or is revived as their sins are forgiven, or are renewed as they take and eat the Body broken for them, the bloodshed to bring them into this covenant relationship.
This is what we treasure; this is what we guard, (which is what tereo means – not just obey/observe) This is what we reveal to the world, it is how we disciple, this is how we live.
Even when we struggle, or doubt, for Jesus is our Lord. And He is with us.
(1) Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (I. Grassl, Ed., M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans.) (p. 140). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.
Posted on April 28, 2016, in Augsburg and Trent, Devotions, Poiema, Theology in Practice and tagged Apostolic, Cardinal Ratzinger, Covenant, Evangelical, gospel, Lutheran, Missional, opus dei, relationship with god, the great commission, walking with God. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.