Union with Christ and his body
Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-16 NIV
The Lament: Answer the Question “What is your only comfort in life & death?”
Take It Further: “‘Til Death Do We Part” by Julie Cramer
My Pap went to his grave in my grandmother’s underwear. The only fact necessary to know about that decision is that my Nan could not bear the thought of him going commando in the casket for eternity. It so distressed her that we fetched her nitroglycerin from among the pennies and peppermints in the junk drawer.
At the pre-funeral inspection, she objected about only one thing—his tie was crooked. As she tugged at the silk knot, a quake of laughter fissured the composure of the rest of us and overtook our small valley of grief. Had he had any breath left in his bones, our grandfather would have hollered, “Forget the tie, Tilley! For God’s sake, I’m wearing your underpants!”
Missing the point
Followers of Christ can sometimes sound like salespeople—rehearsed in their pitch and chirpy in their delivery. If we count ourselves among those in the “Christian camp,” we may even have heard ourselves quip a slogan or two—Can I get an “Amen?” When we skim across each other’s lives in this way, we skip our faith like stones across water; we may produce some ripples of connection, but none that run deep. To live a life worthy of the gospel, we must wade into relationships even though at first contact the water is—at best—cold and uncomfortable, or—at worst—a shock to the system. We simply don’t get a pass. In fact, on the night Judas had already betrayed him and Peter would soon deny him, Jesus instructed his disciples:
As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another (John 13:34b–35).
Anything less is a false witness to a watching world. It’s fussing with a tie when dignity is at stake. It is prejudice precluding diversity; complacency displacing compassion; grievance stifling forgiveness; arrogance mocking humility. In the Great Commission, Jesus promises to be with us—his broken, wayward, imperfect followers—even to “the end of the age.” How, then, shall we be with each other?
Read Ephesians 4. Think about your own experiences in faith communities. What has been positive, negative? What would prevent you from engaging more fully with fellow believers right now? What would need to happen to change that? Consider calling a friend to discuss your ideas or pray for God to reveal opportunities to love others well. Stop by the prayer room next week or write a note in the comments section below. You are welcome here. You are not alone, and you belong.
We’d love to hear from you. Please share with us below your thoughts and insight. We would love to see Take it Further be a place where as a community we dialog, and together we all take the conversation further.
*Note: If you wish, you can look up this and other Bible passages online at youversion.com
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