Sunday, 30 March 2014

Holistic Discipleship...part 1

The word “discipleship” rolls off our tongues continually in conversations right through Christendom and yet I still feel we have often missed the depth and lifelong journey that TRUE discipleship is.

One of my favorite passages on this topic is Luke 2:39 -52. In 13 short verses it talks of Jesus life as a boy and while I wish we had so much more than was told about this part of His life, there is so much we can learn from really breaking down these verses.  Jesus, always was the Son of God, the journey of discipleship began when He was born and continued the whole of His life. Every part of it was important.  It was always seen in the context relationship with God, relationship with others, within community and never in isolation with his physical, social and emotional growth.

Vs 39-42 - Mary and Joseph had done everything required by law.
Every year they travelled to Jerusalem for the Passover, like they always did.

Jesus parents taught Jesus at a very early age that special occasions, rituals, the law and the festivals were all important. I call them anchor points, which I believe we all need to create a strong foundation on what we believe. This was not possible to be done in isolation, but rather with people of all ages and experiences. These sentences are rich with holistic discipleship. This would have been a significant time “all” together. This is what I call a “classic road trip”. It was strategic, it was a priority and it involved all ages, all together. It was quality time. I remember the many road trips our family has had and the many road trips our community has had together. They have become significant anchor points, times of learning, growing together, spaces where God has moved and challenged. We have often been very strategic during our trips, during our times of travelling to an event.  Sometimes our road trips have been especially for a conference or spiritual event or ministry, other times it has been pure holiday. God uses them all, to grow us and strengthen bonds and draw us closer to Him. Many have become “Peak experiences” we will never forget, sometimes even a “rite of passage”, often a chance to share our gifts and passions with others. They are always an opportunity to give Him the glory and the honor He deserves. What are you doing to create traditions and peak experiences on the path of discipleship?

Vs 34-45  - When they left for home, the parents didn’t know where He was, thinking He was with other pilgrims, amongst relatives and neighbors, they travelled for a whole day and didn’t know where Jesus was.

Some would say “how irresponsible”, I would say… (that is not just because I have left my child at church once and gone home thinking she was with someone else) “How cool is the extended family that parents feel safe enough to travel a whole day, knowing that Jesus was with someone they trusted.”  Their experience in the past was that Jesus was in the company of the village, they knew someone would be watching over him. Once again this is the power of a holistic experience of being a part of a Community, blessed by God and others.

Every year a large number of us go camping. We all watch over everyone’s children, as we camp in close proximity and do life together. All taking responsibility of who is in our view. There is freedom in this space, it lessens the burden and allows us all to enjoy the holiday. Western Society has lost this as we live in our isolated boxes and busy schedules, complicated by the many ways we cannot feel safe even in our own streets nowadays.

Vs 46 –47 - They found Him in the temple, among the teachers, listening to them, asking questions, they were impressed with His wisdom.

 Jesus being a good Jewish boy would have actively participated in the traditional feasts as soon as he could talk. The youngest child in the family is the one who asks the questions that prompt the father to retell the rich history of Israel’s Exodus from slavery. By the age of 13,  Jewish boys were considered men, so this important passage of Him being in the Temple with the leaders shows that he was maturing well for the task ahead of him. Jesus loved being in the temple, soaking in Gods word. Listening to his elders and in turn, they were stunned to hear what he had to say.

Sandy is 15 years old; she comes from a non-Christian family, with very little encouragement at home to grow spiritually. She comes along to our intergenerational life group and sits herself down with the older men and woman of the community and soaks up what they say, as well as shares her little pieces of wisdom.  She said to one of the older ladies last week at the end of the night “isn’t this the best place in the world to be?”  Needless to say this made the older ladies night as well.

Where are our children and why are they not sitting more and more at the feet of our wise ones, sharing and asking questions? Is it because we are not creating environments where this can happen! We are all so isolated in our own aged-programs, often listening to one person speak from the front and seldom able to ask questions. So many children don’t even feel they can enter the sanctuary comfortably, let alone ask questions. Jesus didn’t seem to have this experience of feeling uncomfortable, as a result He flourished in this environment. 

To be continued…….