Today’s Bible readings can be found online here: Proverbs 29:1-14 and John 13:21-38.
John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (NIV)
For the last two months, I have had the pastoral privilege of leading five young people in our church through the process of Confirmation. This coming Sunday all of them will stand before our congregation and make special vows, by publicly declaring their faith in Jesus and promising to follow in His footsteps as His disciples. It’s always a very sacred moment in the life of our church and it gives everyone a sense of accomplishment. Most of the young people in this group have grown up in our congregation, so their confirmation affirms the years of support and encouragement that they have been given from their families, both at home and in the congregation.
It will also be a time when the adults in the church should personally review their commitment to being followers of Christ. Discipleship is a life-long process and never ends until we leave the surly bonds of Earth. Each day should be an opportunity to learn more about God in order to apply our faith and effectively display our Christianity. For Jesus, being a disciple meant showing love to one another, so a faith which is devoid of this is a mere religious fabrication. If other people cannot see Christ’s love in our lives, then our faith has a credibility problem and will be seen as inauthentic.
I have a lot of hope for the young people who are being confirmed, as well as their older peers who have already been through this wonderful process. They seem to care more about one another and have a high sense of what is unfair, unjust, and untrue. The world and its environment deeply matter to them, so they expect those of us who declare ourselves as Christians to be actively involved in caring for our planet and for one another. What they do not expect from Christians is a hard-hearted and contemptible faith which treats others disrespectfully and vengefully discriminates against people who disagree with them. Young people loathe self-righteousness and reject all forms of greed. In my opinion, they are truer disciples of Christ because they understand that love is what generates faith in the first place, and not pride or fear.
Point to ponder: What does Christian discipleship mean to me? What does it actually mean to Jesus?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we want to be Your disciples and show the world how much we love You. You also call us to be Your disciples but want us to show love to one another. Help us to follow Your simple teaching; help us to truly love one another. In your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest Pentecost drawings called ‘Spirit 2019.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click here.