Friday, July 4, 2014

Remain Faithful

2Timothy 2:1 You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; 2  and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. 3  Share in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4  No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday affairs; the soldier's aim is to please the enlisting officer. 5  And in the case of an athlete, no one is crowned without competing according to the rules. 6  It is the farmer who does the work who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7  Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in all things. 8  Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David--that is my gospel, 9  for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. 10  Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 11  The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12  if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; 13  if we are faithless, he remains faithful--for he cannot deny himself.

Serve like a soldier, compete like an athlete, work like a farmer…. Paul/the writer of this letter mixes metaphors in order to make the point: this Christian life demands obedience to God, and commitment and perseverance in our practice. We follow Jesus both when it pleases us, and when it does not; both when it is easy, and when it is not; both when we feel like it, and when we do not. We are to remain faithful.  

The Methodist Church makes this explicit in an annual prayer said by all members in a Covenant Service.  This acknowledges that Christian discipleship is both “in season and out of season”. Perhaps you might read this prayer as your reflection for today.

The Methodist Covenant Prayer
I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,
exalted for you or brought low for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty,
let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.
So be it.                                    
And the covenant made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.

Third Sunday after Trinity
33 Christian Maturity
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 207.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.

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