Saturday, April 20, 2013

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Dimensions of Christian life


Therefore, my brothers be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure(10)

Rev. C.K. Vargese achen used to write letters to his son who was in his ministerial studies. They were not about politics, gossip or here say of the Church but about the faith and tradition of the Mar Thoma Church. Achen’s letter formed in his son a strong belief in the Lord, an unshakable faith and an undying vision for the Church. Those were faith formative letters for his son. That son went on to become The Very Rev C.G. Alexander. The passage for today is part of the baptismal liturgy of the early Church. According to some scholars it is a summarised version of the ministry of Jesus covering the ministerial calling and its implications. These were letters that were read to the newly baptised exhorting them in the faith of the Lord. It is a faith formative letter. In these verses we can see the three dimensions of Christian life.

The dimension of knowledge (vs. 3-4): Knowledge is derived from God, discerned by the Spirit and devoted for God. It is the knowledge that Jesus derived from his mother, Moses from the burning bush and Saul on his way to Damascus. This deriving knowledge has a divine mystery (vs3) in it. As we grow in this knowledge we should develop the ability to discern the times that we live in. This comes by the Holy Spirit who will help us to escape the corruption of the world (v4). Ultimately it has to be devoted to participate in the divine nature of God (vs4).Deriving – discerning - devoting is the sequence in which our knowledge has to grow. These are the 3D’s of knowledge.

The progressive ethical dimension (vs. 5-9):  Knowledge is incomplete without growth and growth is nothing without actions (James2:26). The same is implied here. The following verse is an action plan of Christian life. It is an action oriented ethics. Our calling is not complete without commitment. Many a time we think we can achieve holiness in a blink of an eye. Well, that is going to happen only at our Lord’s second coming. But what we all have to realise, is that sometimes it is a stage by stage and step by step journey that’s required of us. Here we discover the C.A.K.E formula: Called to be Active and Knowledgeably Effective. It is four layered C.A.K.E. In the first layer faith is complemented by goodness. In the second layer knowledge is constructed by self-control, in the third layer endurance is sustained by goodness and in the fourth layer brotherly affection is completed by Love.

The eschatological dimension (Vs.10-11): Our calling and election is not for the faint-hearted. In times of turmoil it is the hope in our Lord that will keep us going. The hope of being welcomed into the eternal kingdom. The apostle Paul reviewing his 30-plus years of sacrificial service, gloried only in the cross and the crown (Gal. 6:14, Phil 3:14).That was the hope, of Peter and of all great women and men of God. Let that hope be ours as well.

Prayer: Lord, you called me in your grace, to run the race with godliness, goodness and meekness. So help me lord today and forever.

Thought for the Day: Christian calling: by a promise to become a promise
 
Rev. Abraham Kuruvilla, Trinity MTC, Bangalore