On Sunday we closed out our sermon series on the Lord’s prayer with, ‘Lead us not into the time of trial, but deliver us from the evil one, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.‘ In order to reflect on this in what I hope was a more accessible way, we focused on the story of Abraham and Sarah. We started with ‘lead us.‘
As much as the both the First and New Testaments speak of the life of faith as a journey and as following God/Christ or being lead by God/Christ, and as much as we talk about following and being lead, I’m not sure that we often reflect on what that really means. I just assume that we all know what following/being lead means. But it really isn’t all that obvious is it? I remember a time early in college where I really struggled with what following Christ meant.
That alone, a sense that we were created and called to follow Christ is a vitally important part of faith. After all, most of us, and our children for that matter, have grown in culture, where following is not valued. We hear more about leading or about forging our own way in the world. These are our heroes, the leaders, the lone wolves, the self-made man (or woman)! It really is a myth, this self-made, self-discovery story. We are deeply imbedded in families, communities and cultures that affect and influence the way we see the world and ourselves, and which teach us how to make sense of experiences and events. No one is self-made or self-discovered. The myth of being self-made and/or discovered is just a useful marketing tool to get us to buy products; self-help books, exercise equipment and videos, different styles of clothing, cars, etc, etc. So in the illusion that we are making or discovering ourselves, we are really just following the lead of consumerism toward the goal of personal well-being that products will never provide. In order to avoid this pointless journey, not only a sense of being created and called, but the practices, such as prayer, worship and service, which teach us how to follow Christ, must be central to our lives. These constant practices of seeking God’s will and following Christ’s path are also important because, as we saw on sunday, God’s way is not always clear. We do not get a fully disclosed plan, just a call, a command, an invitation. To follow is to give up control and put in second place our plans and that is frightening.
When did you first experience the call to follow Christ? Have you heard a call lately?