• It's been a joy today to baptize baby Aubrey and receive Andy and Kristin as members (first time commitment for Kristin). A&K along with congregation will teach Aubrey about discipleship, about living with Jesus not as advisor or guide but Lord and Savior. Possible she may become an accountant like her dad or a teacher like her mom, but the possibilities are endless.
Some things you get by heritage. Eye color, height, something of build. My daughter wonders whether she’ll be taller than my wife, and we sure don’t know. Both of her grandmothers are short, and both of her grandfathers are tall.
Some things you don’t get by heritage. My dad’s a doctor, but you wouldn’t want me to be responsible for your life in the operating room.
Discipleship is similar. I am not a Christian by heritage any more than I’m a doctor by heritage. I am a follower of Christ by choice and study and action. Discipleship is a living thing, and as such needs fed and exercised.
• In today’s reading from Luke Jesus calls the disciples “apostles,” which means “sent”, which means that there’s an expectation or original intent that discipleship be more than study and action, that it mature and bear fruit.
We see some fruit in Acts 8 as Peter and John (who were named in Luke 6) catch up with Philip (also named in Luke 6) in Samaria where he’s been proclaiming Christ and restoring people to wholeness of life.
• Back to Luke, Jesus asks his hearers to compare two valuable things: wholeness of life versus pious practice of faith. Shall the law supersede human need? Shall the observation of Sabbath require hungry people to deny themselves simple gleaning? Or shall a man be healed even though it is the Sabbath? Jesus challenges his hearers to consider how the practice of their faith honors God.
Both Sabbath controversies set God’s command to observe the Sabbath in conflict with the command to love one’s neighbor. Which takes precedence, the duty of Sabbath rest or the duty to feed the hungry and heal the sick? Can the love of God be separated from and juxtaposed with the love of neighbor, or is the love of neighbor an expression of our love of God? … Can one honor God if one neglects human need? Or does not the Sabbath require that we take initiative to restore those who are hungry or sick to wholeness and health? – from the New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary, p.135-6.
• The choice to follow Jesus is to choose to imitate Jesus and to share with others the life-giving kingdom of God, a way of living that reveres and honors God while actively loving neighbors. Discipleship is a living thing, and the church is its body.
• Rise up, O church of God! Have done with lesser things. Give heart and soul and mind and strength to serve the King of Kings… End the night of wrong… make great the church… Follow Jesus.
• Hymn 293 Rise Up, O Church of God