Discipleship in an Age of Conflict.
(Posted October 12, 2023)
“In our faith we follow in someone's steps.
In our faith we leave footprints to guide others.
It's the principle of discipleship.” -- Max Lucado, Spiritual Writer
It is especially hard in a week like this, where a brutal, inhuman war is being waged between religiously-related forces, to speak about religion as a positive force. But the part of religion -- that which brings light and a clarity of brotherhood and sisterhood -- can indeed be the force that helps all sides of conflict to see what is brute force barbarism, and what are areas that people can discuss and amend without weapons.
The Meaning of Discipleship
From the very moment Jesus issued the words to send us forth and preach to all nations, we thought of ourselves as his disciples. This is, however, a big difference between saying that you are a disciple and BEING AND LIVING AS A DISCIPLE. Discipleship means walking the walk and talking the talk, never forcing a new theology on a people, but giving people an invitation to know Jesus and perhaps follow him, too.
The Impact of Discipleship
The consequences of good work by Christian disciples is that the Word of God as spoken by Jesus has gone around the world, into every corner of the globe. I’d like to say that the spread of Christianity was always voluntary and free of political pressure. That, unfortunately, is not true.
Last month we at First Church celebrated the beauty of Hispanic and Latino culture within our worship and music. Despite the fact that conversion for people in the Indies and South America was not a choice, the beautiful way in which they incorporated Christianity into their lives was a major contribution to the church.
Encounters with Spiritual Life
This Sunday, in a month that is also Filipino Heritage Month, we encounter the extraordinary spiritual life of Filipinos that existed long before Spanish explorers and missionaries brought Christianity to the Philippines.
Our own congregation reflects Filipino Christianity that our members bring with us to their worship. This Sunday, in honor of that strong bond, we will host Danbury’s Filipino Folk Dance Troop who will show us how dance and rhythm help to express joy. In the Filipino world everything is imbued with Spirit, and we are sure to catch the spirit of joy that they will bring us.
I invite you to come, bring a friend or two, and learn how the approximately 1,5 million Filipino members of the United Church of Christ embrace Jesus in everyday life.