This month I’ll be posting parts of a Lutheran Via de Cristo talk I gave about Environments. This is the first installment.
It’s has been said, and rightly so, that the Christian life is not a destination, but a journey. You might choose to think of it as a train trip. Our first talk spoke about the importance of having an ideal. It’s just crucial–think about it–you might be at the train station, but you can’t get on the right train if you don’t know where you’re headed. As Christians, we want to head toward the life of grace, a conscious and growing life in Christ. This means a lifelong process of reforming and transforming our lives as our will is conformed to His. Talks about piety, study and action gave us some idea of how to do this through personal spiritual discipline. Our last talk ,Leaders, presented a picture of the truly dynamic Christian as a leader. This talk goes a step further because Jesus called us to follow Him, not only for our own salvation, but for the salvation of the world. This is the true mission of the church. It’s not enough to get on the right train and sit quietly reading our Bible until the journey ends. It’s not enough to interact in a friendly and helpful manner with our fellow passengers. We must get off at every stop and invite others to come along with us.
There’s a very good book you might want to read sometime, called “Life Together” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In this book, Bonhoeffer says that Christianity means community and the fellowship of Christian brothers and sisters is a gift of grace, pure grace. Then he goes on to tell us that the Christian’s calling is not in the seclusion of a cloistered life, but in the midst of the world, even among enemies! In the book of Matthew, Jesus instructed his disciples, saying:
“….you are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house ….Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
We can’t stay isolated in our churches and in groups of fellow Christians. We must go out — to our families, our workplaces, our communities –and radiate God’s love into our personal environments.