Lent 2009 – 19 Steps to the Cross

PeterSteps

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord who is going to betray you?”) When Peter sah him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” (John 21:20 – 23)

This small section of scripture, buried in the larger pericope of Peter’s restoration is one that I go back to again and again to remind me of my proper relationship to the Lord and others in His Church. Dr. Vernon Grounds once spoke on passage in chapel, reminding the ministers in attendance that our ministry was never to be compared to someone else’s. Whether we were successful in the eyes of the world (i.e., megachurch growth) or a failure by the same standard (nurturing a small, unnoticed body), the minister was simply to make sure that he was a success according to the call of the Lord. If Jesus calls you to toil in some small body, go and do it with all your heart. If he places you in a megachurch, work every day to ensure your own humility knowing that the success is the Lord’s, not yours. Blogging pastors who spend more time bragging about all the conferences they speak at or their world travels that an ‘unnamed benefactor’ sends them on should bookmark this passage.

As Dr. Grounds said, pointing to men and women in the chapel body, “don’t worry about him or her and what they have been called to do. Simply follow Jesus.”

Amen Dr. Grounds.

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Christians at the Border by Daniel Carroll R.

image You can read my review here of M. Daniel Carroll R.’s new book Christians at the Border. Carroll makes the case for framing the discussion of immigration in Christian terms. His prescription centers on keeping the humanity, the imago dei, in the forefront of our attention as we consider possible responses to the dilemma the country faces in dealing with various mass migrations into the culture. Give it a read and let me know what you think.

Danny Carroll was one of the most influential of my seminary professors. He taught me Old Testament and Hebrew but more importantly, his direction toward seeing how important the image of God in people is was deeply challenging to my outlook on social justice issues. He always demands that our theology expand beyond ‘helicoptering’ into a passage and extracting a truth from a proof text without considering the total context of God’s story throughout history. Carroll insists that our vision of God expand and expand as we grow in Christ.