Follow Me?

Hither ye behind me! Yep; that’s what Jesus said. Modern translations simply say, “Come follow me.” These words of Jesus were an imperative call to present and continuous action. One Greek Grammar says that Jesus was calling for long-term commitment; to habits suited to such a commitment; a commitment that would cultivate virtue leading to a certain lifestyle. Ignatius, working with this big kingdom idea, taught us to follow Jesus by finding God in all things. He and other spiritual masters knew that this meant we had to engage in practices of noticing, reflecting and discerning; learning to be steadily conscious of God, self and others.  Frank Laubach (Letters by a Modern Mystic), stands in this tradition. He writes that submission is the first and last duty of man; that we are learning to respond to God as a violin responds to the bow of the master.  He says this begins with listening, moves to surrender and finds it best fruit in a determined, resolved will to act with God. The question mark we’ve put at the end of Jesus’ imperative is both invitation and call to decisive action to take serious Jesus’ command to come follow me—and in so doing to find, in Laubach’s words, that every day is tingling with the joy of glorious discovery.

– Todd Hunter​

Lent Reading: Sunday, April 6

Reading: John 11:1-45

Reflection Questions:

  1. The story of Lazarus is carried along by a dialogue of questions and assumptions. As you read, listen to the varying questions of the disciples, the sisters, the mourners, and Jesus. Notice how some questions are answered, some are not. With one Jesus gives a profound truth, with another he weeps. In deep distress, grief, and loss there are always questions we ask. What stirs in you as you observe and listen in on this dramatic event? What questions would you want to ask Jesus about areas of loss or darkness in your life? How do you respond when it seems as if God delays or answers you differently than expected?
  2. The author explicitly punctuates Jesus’ love for his friends in the narrative: Lord, he whom you love is ill (v.3); Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus (v.5); Our friend Lazarus (v.11); See how he loved him (v.36). In grief stricken moments of loss, illness or death of loved ones, it is often difficult to believe that God loves us. In your own life’s story, how have you experienced God’s love supporting you in dark moments of suffering or grief? Are there places in your life now that due to the circumstances you don’t feel God loves you? Talk to God about these things.
  3. In this intimate narrative we see Jesus’ own deep emotionally experience with regard to his friends, his loss, his distress. Out of a compassionate heart our Lord draws close, weeps with, and ministers to his friends in amazing ways. The miracle arises out of God’s compassion. Where in your life might you need God to do the impossible, unimaginable, unpredictable? Open to God in prayer, ask, believe.

Here’s a segment of a prayer poem by Ted Loder. It offers words of prayer for dark moments:

Lord I have so few ways to pray
but you have so many ways to answer.
Keep me alert to your unpredictable answers
to unexpected, unexplainable surprises
and by your grace, make me one of those surprises,
for the sake of the One who taught us the surprises of
moving mountains, healing touches, wondrous stories, great banquets,
first suppers, broken bread, crosses and resurrections.

 

– Elizabeth Khorey

Lent Reading: Sunday, March 30

Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-9; Psalm 139:13-18; John 13:1-5

Reflection Questions:

Dallas Willard asserts that human beings are: Never ceasing spiritual beings with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe.

C.S. Lewis described us like this: There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, and civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.

  1. Consider these thoughtful statements about humanity, who is created by God in the Divine Image, as you read our Scripture passages this week. What do you discover about human existence? What do you discover about your life in relation to God?
  2. How do these passages of Scripture expand the value of your life?
  3. How do these passages of Scripture enhance your sense of security in life as a child of God?

– Elizabeth Khorey