Friday, August 26, 2011

To Be a Disciple

Jesus said “Follow Me.” to those He chose and Chooses. Follow Jesus. What does it mean? Simple answer? Just do what Jesus would do. The WWJD thing. Life as, ”Imitation of Christ”. Learn as much about Jesus as possible, and obey his teachings. The problem: This simple answer is wrong. This is why.

First, being a disciple doesn't flow from what you do, but from being intimate with Jesus. To walk with Him. Be filled With Him. When and IF you take communion, think...If I take Jesus within me, not as memorial for an amazing thing that happened around 1,981 years ago, but as a paradoxical blessing of power, Right Now, if it doesn't change me, calls into question if I truly took Him in.

It seems a paradox, if you don't believe you took him in, you don't. If you believe you took Him IN, then you do. So somehow, in the same way that an observer seems to effect what happens to electrons and slits or Schrodinger’s cat in quantum mechanics experiments, do we influence what happens in the mass? (as Catholics are fond of calling it).

I prefer to call it communion, because if lowly unworthy me somehow takes God within me, and this somehow transforms me, communion seems as close as we can to describe this amazing concept. I commune with God. Not in a master-servant thing that seems like getting scrapings from the table. Instead, this is the story of the Prodigal.

Son comes back. Father kills the fatted calf. I come to communion. I offer myself. Nothing more, nothing less. My best just filthy rags. Emptied, I can be filled. As Jesus promised, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, “Will Be Filled.” This is the amazing gift of the table. God invites me, an inconsequential being on the third planet from a mid-sized star, in a backwater galaxy, far from the center of said galaxy, TO BE FILLED. God threw a party for me. He killed the fatted calf for me. All I do is show up.

This is why following is misleading. You don't have to chase God. Seek to know “mysteries”. Study for 40 years to learn “All he commands.” All you do is show up. Offer to be emptied to be filled.

Ah, here is one major problem. We know we must surrender, but get it slightly wrong. We think it's about what we give up. We try to earn a gift. “Lord, look what I gave up for you.” As though that was of slightest importance. Remember pearl beyond price, or treasure in the field.

Or we tell God. “Look what I don't do.” I don't drink. I don't smoke. I don't dance. I don't go to parties. I don't swear. I don't.”..The “I don't” list is far too long to be contained in any book short of a Steven King opus, another don't... “I don't read Steven King.”

God is like the father, he doesn't care what you gave up, anymore than the father cares his son gave up feeding pigs. His son is present. Back from the dead. God offers to throw the most wonderful party for US, the amazing party is communion. Come celebrate. Come join the party. Be filled.

This is being a disciple. Just show up, to be filled. Hunger for righteousness. A disciple of Jesus, ready to embark with Him on a journey of intimacy. Learn to hear his voice. Learn to be still and listen, then learn to hear Him in the midst of chaos.

This journey is a lifetime commitment. An infinite trail of sanctification, suffering, refining and divine appointments. Like a special forces soldier dropped deep into enemy territory, totally alert to all around. Mindful. Seeking to join God in His plan, to Be a disciple of Jesus.

For those committed to communion as memorial service, ask yourself if the remembering might be to remember that you have taken Jesus within you. This is the memory to remember. Not just the amazing event of nearly 2K years ago, but that Jesus is present in you now.

Revelation 3:19 &20 points to Jesus telling us that He stands at the door and knocks. If we let Him in, He will sup with us. This is at the heart of discipleship. We take God within. We are His. We sup with him, or better still, we have a feast of joy with Him.

Three words sum up a journey with Jesus. Three words, all at the same time, in a triple paradox: Fearless, Joyful, Obedience. Simple words to meditate on and to live in a life of intimate discipleship. So simple. So hard. Each one an infinity. Together a trinity of infinity. So join with me and Jesus on a journey into infinity. The journey of joy that is true discipleship.

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