Today's Lectionary Text
1 John 5:1-5Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born from God. Whoever loves someone who is a parent loves the child born to the parent. This is how we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep God’s commandments. This is the love of God: we keep God’s commandments. God’s commandments are not difficult, because everyone who is born from God defeats the world. And this is the victory that has defeated the world: our faith. Who defeats the world? Isn’t it the one who believes that Jesus is God’s Son?
The other day, I started a bible study with a group of folks in the church I serve about discipleship. I first asked the question: How do you practice your discipleship? Then, I asked the question: What is your definition of discipleship? I believe it’s important to claim ownership for what is done and what Is left undone.
Each person around the table shared something. What I heard in the responses was how each person has their own unique expression of discipleship. Only together, though, did a definition of discipleship emerge.
So, I can provide the best practice of discipleship, I ask God for help several times throughout the day, daily. Some time ago, I learned a prayer I credit to Adam Hamilton, where I ask God to “help me be the man God needs me to be” daily. My devotional life has grown through the years, though. Now, it consists of anywhere from 2-5 read devotions followed by morning pages, a practice I call daily reflections from the tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous, and then an expansive written prayer. All my work is done electronically because I find I learn best when I work on a computer keyboard.
This work grounds me by connecting me with God first thing in the day, and that connection sees me through every day, one day at a time. It serves as a reminder of how I am a child of God connected with God with the purpose of loving God and others, just as the writer of 1 John 5 suggests.
As I have grown through this and experienced significant healing, it reminds me of something that has been very difficult for me to do at times. It has helped me learn patience to trust the processes God works through in my life. And, perhaps, more than that, being intentional about connecting with God (who is always connected with me), has given me the courage and conviction to let my light shine so I take the authority entrusted in me in my ordination.
Opening myself up and being vulnerable before God is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I hope it will be what others experience, as well.
-Rev. Mark Crist
Holdrege First UMC
Prayer for Reflection
Loving and compassionate God, you know us better than we know ourselves. We are every bit like children who do things only to need your correction, so we are who you need us to be. Forgive us for those times when we deny your presence in our lies, especially when it means we deny who we are as your children. We praise you for your patience and healing mercies that you never give up on us but love us so much that you would do in your son what we could not do for ourselves. In the name of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
This Week's Lectionary
This Week's Liturgical Color