What Does It Mean?

Letterhead photo.jpg

At my church, I asked people to ponder the term, “Christian,” and whether it was used as an adjective or a noun in their life. I then invited them to respond to the question: “What does it mean to you to follow Christ?” Here are some of the responses I received:

“Since you invited your readers’ thoughts, I’ll add to your parts of speech and share I’ll go for a VERB Christian. Yes, a state of being or action! ‘They’ll know we are Christians by our love….’  A servant Christian inDEED. A response to following the great ‘I AM.’”

_______________

“To me being a Christian means surrendering my will and replacing it with God’s will. This is not always easy, but I pray that God will take my hand and lead me when I tend to stray away.”

_______________

“’Follow Me’” is quite the mantra in word, songs, prayer, and daily life for all of us who try to be Christian. To be a Christian has simple words like Love, Forgive, Feed, Care For, Pray, Commune, Shelter, Clothe, Listen, Be Open to the Word, Laugh, Be Humble, Be Grateful, etc.  But, … I am only human and to do all this every day is difficult at best. Yesterday, I was at the funeral … and I asked [Father Meyer] how he could answer the many questions that come out of a tragic death like this and he said, ‘HOPE.’ In Sara Young’s devotion [Jesus Calling] she writes, ‘I [God] can bring Beauty out of ashes of lost dreams, I can glean Joy out of Sorrow, Peace out of adversity.’ And once again my Christianity or lack of understanding of being a Christian comes into question. And so, when Father Meyer talked about this word HOPE in his homily, once again my questions were answered with one word, ‘HOPE.’ Being a Christian is not that simple, but some days I just need a simple statement to bring me back home.”

_______________

“I am a Christian because he first loved me. I am a Christian because Jesus died on the cross for all my sins. I am a Christian because I can’t do life without God. I Christian because I am a sinner. He’s my only hope!”

_______________

I am grateful for these thoughtful responses. The church, I hope, invites us to walk alongside our fellow pilgrims and explore together what it means when Christ says, “Follow me.” I pray the church does not say, “Believe this way and then you can belong.” Instead, “You belong, now let’s figure out what we believe together.”

Being Human connection: Oswald Chambers said, “Jesus said, ‘Go . . . and make disciples….’ (Matthew 28:19), not, ‘Make converts to your own thoughts and opinions.’”

Featured art: This pencil drawing is a cherished gift to me from my sister, Cindy, who is an artist in Missouri. The subject of this drawing is actually a sculpture from Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s statue of the Madonna at the Siena Cathedral in Tuscany, Italy (see below). I love her hauntingly beautiful expression as she looks heavenward. Check out more of my sister’s work on Facebook: Cindy Kopenhafer Artist, www.facebook.com/CindyKopenhafer.

Next week, I’ll share something from my other amazingly talented sister. Stay tuned….