Sharp About Your Prayers

the challenges, absurdities, and joys of an urban faith

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Go and Do Likewise…

July 29th, 2010 · 6 Comments · Faith and the City

These are interesting (even challenging) times to be a disciple.  We swim in a culture in which people are less and less sure what it means to be a Christian.  We live in a city where many doubt that a person with a vigorous mind would (or could) also have an active faith.

What’s more, our society no longer seems inclined to hand the Christian faith complimentary servings of good will.  Did you know that a recent survey in this country (of young people between the ages of 16 and 29) found that the primary words that this demographic would use to describe Christians are “judgmental” and “hypocritical”?ª

Certainly, a good bit of our bad press has been deserved.  Christian institutions and Christian figures have produced more than our fair share of scandals, mean-spiritedness, and just plain loopiness.

Still, people continue to follow.  Across the world, Christianity continues to grow.  Why?  Well, perhaps the Christian faith really is more than a laundry list of our most prominent mess-ups.  Much more.

When you get past cultural motives for being a Christian (“I was born and bred a Presbyterian.  What other choice do I have?”); I think the primary reason that most of us have stayed within the faith is an appreciation for the basics.

When Jesus summoned disciples, he asked them to follow.  Then, he traveled around and did stuff.  He healed.  He taught.  He forgave.  From time to time, he would turn to the motley crew who was tagging along behind him and say, “Go and do likewise.”

Maybe it’s that simple.  Maybe life, the Christian life, depends on this basic protocol.  Tag along behind Jesus.  Try to do likewise.

Right now, I am preparing a fall sermon series.  The ten week series will focus on ten verbs, ten things that Jesus either did or commanded the disciples to do.  Here are some of the verbs that I am considering:

knock

feast

visit

love

What would you add to the list?  What verbs signify following Jesus to you?


ª The Barna Group, UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity, 2007.

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • J.C. AustinNo Gravatar

    This is a great idea, Scott, and you’ve already got some good ones. I skimmed through Matthew and saw a few others I liked. “Get up” was actually my favorite, but listen, give, and forgive all stood out, too. Also interesting to see what verbs he uses in the negative: do not worry, do not judge, do not be afraid. Looking forward to the series!

  • MattNo Gravatar

    kind of basic, but:

    touch/heal
    pray
    set free

    to go along with your ‘visit’ would be ‘welcome’

  • KyleNo Gravatar

    Cool! Off the top of my head:

    Cry/Mourn (and I assume Laugh)
    Shout
    Speak
    Break (Bread, Rules)
    Ask

  • KyleNo Gravatar

    Also, as a side note, it seems important to contemplate the act of following in the footsteps of a man we are told did supernatural acts. Isn’t that part of the basis for the confusion of how could an “intelligent” person could be a Christian? Or religious at all? So what about the “strange” verbs?

    Expelled (spirits)
    Walk (on water)
    Transformed
    Rose from the dead

    Ya know, the “easy” stuff. 😉

  • Sherwood MacRaeNo Gravatar

    Alas, I do not see the word that I believe – at 81 years of age, is the one that should be inscribed on the heart of all who bear His name. That word is – serve.

    Otherwise, how do we get to known Him. Certainly, not by way of the pages assembled in what we know as the Bible. They introduce Him, yes, of course, but to know Him – in the fullness of His grace, we need to serve Him.

    Not talk about serving Him – go, where you may believe it to be the darkest reaches and serve, there He is.

    Go to the temples we have erected to reflect His glory and serve – all who come there seeking, there He is.

    Go across the street, or even next door, and listen to their concerns, there He is.

    Whenever, wherever, however, you serve, there He is.

    And then you say with Peter, this life, His life, is “joy inexpressible and full of glory.”

  • SBJNo Gravatar

    Sherwood,

    Serve is indeed a great word! I believe it is embedded in other words that have been mentioned here. Words like “visit” that seem to capture your admonition to “Go across the street and listen…” Words like “heal” (in my mind) are evoked by statements like “Go to the darkest reaches…” So, I do agree. “Serve” is absolutely central.

    Peace,

    SBJ