Jüngerschaft - II
APOSTOLISCHES SCHREIBEN GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE DES HEILIGEN VATERS PAPST FRANZISKUS
Sind mit "Kinder Gottes" alle Menschen gemeint?
"Allen aber, die ihn aufnahmen, gab er Macht, Kinder Gottes zu werden, allen, die an seinen Namen glauben," (Joh 1,12 Einheitsübersetzung)
Kinder Gottes sind hier also die, "die ihn aufnahmen" und "an seinen Namen glauben". Keineswegs aber alle Menschen.
"Aber er sollte nicht nur für das Volk sterben, sondern auch, um die versprengten Kinder Gottes wieder zu sammeln." (Joh 11,52 Einheitsübersetzung)
Unter anderem um die eben erwähnten Kinder Gottes wieder zu sammeln sollte Jesus also sterben.
"So bezeugt der Geist selber unserem Geist, dass wir Kinder Gottes sind. Sind wir aber Kinder, dann auch Erben; wir sind Erben Gottes und sind Miterben Christi, wenn wir mit ihm leiden, um mit ihm auch verherrlicht zu werden." (Röm 8,16-17 Einheitsübersetzung)
Der Geist bezeugt unserem Geist, dass wir Kinder Gottes sind, Miterben Christi. Wiederum ein Kriterium, das nicht für alle Menschen zutrifft.
"Auch die Schöpfung soll von der Sklaverei und Verlorenheit befreit werden zur Freiheit und Herrlichkeit der Kinder Gottes." (Röm 8,21 Einheitsübersetzung)
Verse wie dieser müssen in oben genanntem Zusammenhang gesehen werden.
"Das bedeutet: Nicht die Kinder des Fleisches sind Kinder Gottes, sondern die Kinder der Verheißung werden als Nachkommen anerkannt;" (Röm 9,8 Einheitsübersetzung)
Deutlicher geht es wohl nicht.
Enden wir mit einem Vers, der für sich selbst spricht:
"damit ihr rein und ohne Tadel seid, Kinder Gottes ohne Makel mitten in einer verdorbenen und verwirrten Generation, unter der ihr als Lichter in der Welt leuchtet." (Phil 2,15 Einheitsübersetzung)
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
I don’t know about you, but if you go to any given Christian Sunday service (and it doesn’t almost even matter which denomination), you get the same picture pretty much everywhere: A nice service with nice people and a nice message. You can’t really say much against it, but then again – also not much for it. It’s all about love, forgiveness, nice & touching emotional stories and the like. Again: in and of itself that’s not really wrong. Is it not?
Let’s look back how Christianity started. Jesus’ radical call to give up everything – wealth, family and even life – to follow Him. Discipleship as the living symbol of the great Christian paradox: Die to live. Lives that spoke through their own examples, sermons that set hearts on fire, evangelizing at the cost of one’s life. Read the testimonies of the early Christian martyrs and weep.
What is left? Not much I dare say. Nice meetings, big events that don’t really say much nor do they have any lasting effects, church congregations that haven’t heard the words “hell”, “Satan”, “damnation”, “sin” for decades – not to speak of a godly sexuality and a Christian life. Right, Jesus is all about love. The hippie-like Jesus that paints everything rose. Who cares that back in the days Jesus could get really angry, spoke about Satan and hell like no other and did not care to shy away butts from the church benches as long as He had it right with God.
As to the Bible – well, technically it is still around, but man did they make something out of it. Back then it was a book that changed lives and gave people spiritual food. Now everything is “re-interpreted”. The biblical stories had been written by humans in their own historical and cultural circumstances. You can’t take that at face value and for sure it is not valid anymore. What’s left is that fuzzy “love”-feeling. Who cares that love in the biblical context is not a fuzzy feeling but a covenant where a person gives himself or herself in a life-giving manner reflecting the love that Jesus has for His bride, the Church – and in the marital context this love becomes so much “one flesh” that you have to give it a name nine months after – reflecting the trinity.
Don’t get me wrong – historical and cultural Bible interpretation has its place – but it is only ONE of many different aspects that need to be taken into account when studying the Bible. If you knock it down at that – and at that only – then you can throw away the whole book. If there are no lasting standards that no generation is allowed to change and that are valid across the centuries, then you can throw away the whole book.
Or – in other words: Then Christianity becomes the “me, myself & I” wellness-Christianity, where it is all about how I feel good about it, which church congregation offers me the best program, how the psalms give me feel-good-messages, how I can even mix things up with Zen-Buddhism, Yoga, pagan and even occult religious practices – or simply my own preferences, feelings and experiences. In other words: it all comes down to the satanic “do what you want” cult – with the sad side-effect that most are not even aware of that and would ascribe such thoughts to radical “fundamentalists”.
That’s the bad part of it. But then you have also the small gate to heaven that Jesus mentioned that few people will pass. Yes, they might be few, but they exist and they will get there.
You want to be one of the gang? Then go and check out what real discipleship is all about. Tell Jesus you want it, you want HIM and Him alone and that you are willing to give up everything for Him. And then let Him work in and through you. Yes, you will have to face consequences for that. People will mock you at best, or even harm you physically. You will lose everything and it won’t “feel good”. But then again you will find a sort of satisfaction that is beyond spiritual wellness. A satisfaction that unites you with Jesus’ life on the deepest level – the joy, the humility, the courage, but also the redemptive suffering.
You want all of that? Be careful before you answer. Because a “yes” might cost you everything – and give you everything: eternal life.
No Time for God
Isn't it too radical to believe we can leave everything behind and follow Jesus? What if we have families?
How many times do we try to explain away what Jesus said. He called us clearly to leave verything and everybody behind and follow Him without looking back. We tend to argue that He did not really mean what He said, that this would only apply to some chosen few living a celibate life, joining a religious order or serving the poor in Africa. Not everyone is a Mother Theresa we say. Not all of us are saints. The bad news: If we don't strive to become saints, we won't get to heaven (just for the record: no, we cannot "earn" our way to heaven, but a radical form of discipleship is certainly part of the deal). We sometimes believe that "going to Church" (in the sense of "going into a Church building") on Sundays and being a nice person during the week will be enough. We are not "fundamentalists", right? You don't want to tell us we need to leave our wives and children or our jobs, right? Right?? Not so. Jesus has to be the center of our lives and be number one in anything and everything. However, this is not a matter of "either or", but of "and". Why do we always believe we need to go somewhere to follow Him? Yes, sometimes that will be the case - and He demands the ultimate sacrifice from us, even our own lives. Even leaving our families. But radical discipleship can be a call for all of us each day as well. Raising godly children, being a godly spouse, standing up for our faith at the workplace, proclaiming Him through our works and deeds, doing works of charity, having a spiritual life daily, sharing our material goods with others, follow His call for each one of us, giving Him the glory in everything we do, we give and we receive - isn't all of that a whole lot like radical discipleship? Each day can be a challenge if you live it for the Lord. We all need to give Him our everything. Let's not cross the finish line at the end of our days without having given everything to Him, as hard as this may have been. He came down to become Son of men and gave His life for us so we could be children of God and have eternal life. He gave literally everything without excuses. How come we still tend to adhere to our "rational" and "human" way of thinking? His thoughts are not our thoughts. Remember the paraple of the lost son? Actually, it bears the wrong title. It is not (only) about the lost and repenting son and the loving father - else it would stop at that point. It is about the elder son, who thinks pretty much like we are thinking: How can he do that after all that I've done for him? Or in our case: How can he ask this and that from me when I have a family to take care of and a job to do? Jesus had a mother to take care of as well (there was no retirement money coming from the state back then!) - and He gave His life in spite of that! Radical discipleship is not for a chosen few - it is for every follower of Jesus. Is it hard? Yes. Does it sound irrational? Yes. Will it hurt us and others? Yes. Will the world laugh at us and mock us? Yes. Is it worth it? YES!!
The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting
with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening
white pearls in a pink foil box. "Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them?
Please, Mommy, please?"
Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked
back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face.
"A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2.00. If you really want them,
I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough
money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday's only a week away and you might
get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma."
As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted
out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she
went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for
ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and
at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.
Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore
them everywhere - Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she
took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if
they got wet, they might turn her neck green.
Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed,
he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story.
One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?"
"Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you."
"Then give me your pearls."
"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess - the white horse
from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one
you gave me. She's my favorite."
"That's okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek
with a kiss."
About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again,
"Do you love me?"
"Daddy, you know I love you."
"Then give me your pearls."
"Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new
one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow
blanket that matches her sleeper."
"That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you"
And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.
A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed
with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin
was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.
"What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"
Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when
she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she
finally said, "Here, Daddy. It's for you." With tears gathering in his own
eyes, Jenny's kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store
necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a
blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. He
had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store
stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure.
So it is with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap
things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasure. Isn't God
good? Are you holding onto things which God wants you to let go of. Are
you holding on to harmful or unnecessary partners, relationships, habits
and activities which you have come so attached to that it seems impossible
to let go? Sometimes it is so hard to see what is in the other hand but do
believe this one thing.................. God will never take away something
without giving you something better in its place.