Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Like obedient children, do not comply with the evil urges you used to follow in your ignorance, but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct, for it is written, “You shall be holy, because I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:13-16
This post has been cooking for a few days now. I read these words two mornings ago in my devotions and they helped to confirm something that I was feeling post-General Assembly for the PCUSA. First off, I have to once again say how blessed I was by my experience at GA. In the midst of discussions about budgets and parliamentary minutiae, i heard a deep commitment to justice and seeking to work to live out God’s kingdom principles for the world. At the same time, as I am a few days past GA, there was one word that I didn’t hear a lot but that I think should be at the core of all of those commitments…discipleship.
Discipleship is one of those words that has a lot of baggage with it – it conjures up images of Jim Jones or David Koresh or a host of others. I have had people say it makes them think about people who simply don’t think for themselves. When I hear those things, it makes me sad because it is truly a beautiful word with a beautiful meaning behind it. To me, what it means is a deep commitment to following Jesus, of seeking to allow the Spirit to work and transform each of us, and to work on living out the principles of the Kingdom of God in the world.
But here’s the thing for me about discipleship and ministry. Discipleship is the first step and not something that follows down the road. Discipleship is that which inspires one to live as Jesus taught us. Discipleship is at the heart of Kingdom living. So, whether it was at GA or whether it is in the individual ministry of the church, this scary word…discipleship… is a necessary word and practice for us. It is for me to seek to live faithfully as a disciple of Jesus. It is for me to encourage and lead others into that life of discipleship.
In this passage from 1 Peter, I heard a call to disciple living – setting our hope on what Jesus is and will be, seeking to be obedient in our actions, and seeking to live lives of holiness. It is not an easy road but it is a road that not only transforms those who walk it but it transforms the world along the path that we walk. So, PCUSA…let’s not only focus on that which we necessarily have been focusing upon – justice, righteousness, inclusivity – but let’s also focus on what is at the core of all of it for the Gospel – following as disciples of Jesus the Christ.