Thursday, September 12, 2013

Commitments-- blessing and privilege

When we talk about commitment in our faith to discipleship, an author writes that there are certain patterns that seem to always appear in scripture, and very much to our own lives both as individuals and a community of faith.  First of all, there is a call.  We are a called people.  Each of us in our own unique gift of life has been called by God to play a role that enhances our own faith journey and demonstrates God’s love of this creation.  Second of all, there is always fear.  God has an inextinguishable habit of asking people to do things that are scary to them.  We can remember stories of Moses and Jonah and their response to God.  Many of us can also relate to taking those fears as we have embarked on new paths, often all we have is our faith.  However, there is also a third pattern to commitment in our faith.  There is always reassurance.  God promises to be with us always.  God does not guarantee that there will not be storms, but does promise to walk, and even in some cases, carry us through those times of challenge.  Fourth, there is a decision, a commitment.  There is a point in our lives, in our faith journey where we come to forks in the road.  We often do not have the luxury of coming back and picking the other if one path does not pan out.  We have to trust and make decisions in faithful discipleship.  Finally, scripture demonstrates to us that when we understand our call, recognize our fear, recall God’s continued presence; make a commitment, lives will be changed.  We, and others, will not remain the same.  We have opportunities to grow deeper into understanding God active in our midst.  This is what it means to become a committed disciple of Christ. 

From Pastor Randy's Sermon last weekend

From Pamela:   In Christian Discipleship, total dependence upon God is a requirement.  Oh sure, we can always take a safe path, doing what we know we can do, what works well, and what we have always done.   But even it that path was new to us "once upon a time", God's call is so dynamic that it is rare that we are continually called to go upon the same path in the same way year after year  

God is creative, always making things new, always taking what is there are reforming it.  Part of the reformation process builds upon what is there and continues what has begun.   But another component of Christian Life is transformation -- We are changed, in ways that are sometimes minute and at other times huge, whenever we active, alert, and obedient in response to God's call.  With every consent to serve others, we are also offering our consent to God to use us as God wills, and as God knows best. 

I think that is where the "fear" comes in for many of us -- we hesitate to step out if we can't know in advance the outcome of our commitment.  The outcome includes results that are external as well as internal. 

Perhaps we need to take all of those jokes about Lutherans resisting change and flush them down the toilet.  Perhaps we need to halt our pert quips about "we have never done it that way before."  Perhaps our tendency to hunker down and protect what always "was" our way is thumbing our noses at God saying:  We know more about our "call" than God does. 

This past week we did something we never did before.  We changed the time and place of worship.  We abbreviated the worship service and dedicated our morning to a couple of hours serving others.  Had we gotten up on concern about the logistics and details and possible repercussions of taking such risks, we never would have done it.  Yet most people said the change was "good"....

Our commitment to discipleship needs to be one that is firmly rooted as well as open to the ongoing formation and transformation that God works in our midst while we are at work. 

And we need not fear -- God will not take us anywhere where God will not be with us guiding and supporting us through the love of Christ! 

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