Be imitators of Jesus. What a bold challenge! Be imitators of the One who is perfect. Be imitators of the One whose mind is pure and purely compassionate. Be imitators of the One whose courage exceeds our imagination of what it means to be courageous. Be imitators of God, come to earth.
yet, that is the challenge we face. To imitate Jesus; to follow in the footsteps that lead, inexorably, to the cross. And so, let us walk together in those footsteps. Is that not what we pledge here at Union Chapel?
ek. Serve. Together.
The path that Jesus walked runs right through the trouble of this world. It meanders past corruption, bitterness, destruction, and betrayal, but it engages sorrow, grief, loss, and death. It stops and helps, weeping, at the side of the one who is beaten and left by the path to die, even as those who might be expected to help--well, instead, they pass by, hurriedly. This path encounters the little children of the world and offers
them blessing, meets the guilty woman at the well of her despair and offers her, again, hope, sees the prodigal child from a distance and turns straight to meet that child at the intersection of confession and forgiveness. This path leads to the cross, it's true, but it leads, also, beyond that cross and the death it guarantees into the light of life--life abundant here on earth, life eternal when the days assigned to this existence are accomplished. This is the path we are to follow. This is the life we are told to imitate.
In his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul reminded those new followers of Jesus that there was a wrath to come and that Jesus is the One who rescues. There is a wrath to come, but it is not far off, in the future. It is not the wrath of God; it is the wrath that we encounter when we walk any path, take any route, follow any footsteps other than those of Jesus. For, life in His footsteps may lead us to a temporary death, to trials and tribulations that sting and wound us in the present, to the scorn of even our friends as they remind us of what we are missing, but the dull and daily death march of every other path is invisible and, yet, sucks the life out of those who follow them. Those who do not know the love of Jesus face a wrath which may be silent and invisible, but which is lethal, nonetheless.
And this is why we are called to imitate Jesus, that those around us may see and may follow. Let us be about this great work today, and tomorrow, and for all the days to come. Let us: Seek. Serve. Together. Rejoice, and be glad!
Grace and Peace to You,