It’s the week leading up to Easter or, more specifically to our conversation here, Resurrection Sunday.
I’ve associated that with various things in the past…when I was young: dressing up in a fancy dress, attending a church service, having a large meal with extended family and finding little plastic eggs hidden with candy in them. After coming into a more intimate relationship with God – really understanding, knowing and accepting who Jesus was – it became a much more personal time of reflection and appreciation for what Jesus did on my behalf. I considered what happened the days leading up to the Sunday that we celebrate. What actually happened on Maundy Thursday? On Good Friday? How must Jesus have been feeling as He completed this task that was the culmination of his 33 years of ministry on planet earth?
“Sometimes I thank God for unanswered pra-a-a-ayers.”
And sometimes when a country singer is right, they’re just plain right
(thanks, Garth – and thanks, country music stage back in the 90s).
Isn’t it just the truth though? I mean, you can probably look back over your life and pinpoint areas where He most definitely had His hand on you and saved you from some doozies… but do you ever think about the things you don’t even know He saved you from?
Once, I was at a church service where this point was driven home to me in such a powerful way. We were singing this song : “You, O Lord, are a shield about me. You’re my glory and the lifter of my head…” As I was singing, my brain couldn’t help but form the following picture: as I knelt before the Lord (a fitting posture of reverence to Him and submission to His plan – this would be important), He provided a thick, plastic/glass-type structure that surrounded me. Encased me. It kept me from things I could see could hurt me but I also knew that it protected me from things I could not see. Things that were behind me, things that were far ahead of me, even things right in my midst.
Not gonna deny it…was all set to bash Kim Kardashian for posting yet another nude selfie on the cyber webs earlier this week. But after further consideration, decided this is all the attention I want to devote to the matter:
Seriously. That’s it.
So what does it really mean to BE a Christian?
If “in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” Acts 11:26) why was that? We note a couple of things in this reference. First, it says “disciples.” These were the folks who had personally encountered Jesus in a significant way. They walked with Jesus, were taught by Jesus and believed in who Jesus said he was. The meaning for the word disciple or to be a disciple or to make a disciple in Greek is a learner; a pupil; trained; instructed.
Now, that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s dig a bit deeper to see what was happening up until “…in Antioch…” (Acts 11:26)
I have come to learn over the past 20+ years (starting with myself!) that the term “Christian” means different things to different people. For some it means following The Big 10 (Commandments, that is. You know…the major dos and don’ts of the Bible). For others, it means living a “good life” and trying to be a “good person.” For yet others, it seems to be something one is “born into” – much like your nationality or a particular ethnic group you identify with.
But what if it means much much more?