Connecting With Others by Rev. Dr. David F. Jones
Eugene Peterson in “The Message” paraphrases Matthew 5: 13 – “Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.” And then Matthew 5:14 -- "Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.”
Tertullian was an early Christian author and theologian (early 3rd century) who wrote “Christians are made, not born.” His point was that discipleship, following Jesus, being salt and light, doesn’t come naturally. Christians are made by their long obedience in the same direction. We grow as disciples as we worship, pray, study, share, and serve.
One of the 6 Great Ends of the Church found in the Presbyterian Church (USA) Book of Order is “The Preservation of the Truth.” That’s language is from a century ago. Dr. Gary Hansen, Professor of Church History at Dubuque Theological Seminary suggests that this Great End of the Church doesn’t mean we have the truth locked in a box. No, it’s unfolding. We are people on a journey, seeking to know Jesus Christ, who is “the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).” His example and teachings inform the way we live out our faith and challenges us daily. The journey will lead us into a deeper understanding of ourselves and our need for others and God.
It lasts a lifetime and along the way we need the sacraments (Baptism and The Lord’s Supper) to remind us of who and whose we are. We need regular worship (private and public), prayer (private and public), study (private and with others), service (private and with others) and fellowship to help us along the way. It’s really not about how far along we are or aren’t. It’s about the willingness to follow Jesus and allow the journey to unfold, with all of its joys and sorrow, stops and starts, until we breathe our last and our baptism is complete.