Face it!” ™
Gospel Incarnated Discipleship Needs Face Time! And no, I’m not talking about the videotelephony software application and related protocol developed by Apple Inc. That “FaceTime” name was purchased by Apple. “Face time” however, is an English idiom for direct personal interaction or contact between two or more people at the same time and physical location. (Wikipedia) It’s hard to esteem others higher than yourselves (Philippians 2:3) when you’re not looking them in the eye. Especially when all you ever see of others is the back of their heads in a church. It’s hard to Be devoted to one another in brotherly love and to honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10) when you’re not engaged WITH people. You’ve got to get out in the thick of it, even if it costs your life. Jesus, in his “high priestly prayer” said, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18) Just before Stephen was killed by the Religiously Right, Luke explains that, “all who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.” (Acts 6:15)
I can remember my years in Lutheran church as a youngster. Every weekend, without fail, the pastor would close the service with the following benediction:
May the Lord bless you, and keep you;
May the Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
May He lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”
It comes from Numbers 6:22-27 and is known as the “Aaronic Blessing.” God instructed Moses to instruct Aaron, as a high priest to bless the people in that fashion. Today, all believers are priests (1 Peter 2:5-9) We carry the blessing as we go and are going* (Matthew 28:19,20) We who are strong bear the failings of the weak (Romans 15:2). We do it for their good and not our own (Romans 15:2). It is God who gives us endurance, encouragement and a spirit of unity as we follow Christ [Discipleship] (Romans 15:5). As priests we come bringing the full measure of the blessing of Christ (Romans 15:29) We become the benediction. We incarnate the face of Jesus, the hands of Jesus, and the feet of Jesus. We expose Jesus and his Exposé [The Gospel].** Anonymity is ineffective in true discipleship. Anonymous may be good at hacking, but not necessarily so at Making Disciples. We have to see their hurts, fears, doubts, and hunger, and let others see ours.
The phrase “Be the Church,” is popular, and in fact, a good phrase. Unfortunately, it’s gone the way of so many other sound bites. So, I’ll coin another phrase, “Be the Benediction.” ™ I believe that one’s original too.
Susan Ashton, A contemporary Christian music artist, had a song on her “Wakened by the Wind” album entitled “Benediction.” Here’s the chorus:
I’m following a voice in faithful pursuit
I’m searching my soul to do what I’m called to do
I need Your benediction, where’s Your benediction
I’m battling the odds through faces of doubt
And it would mean so much if You could send me out
With Your benediction, I need Your benediction.
So, go on, “Face Discipleship” & “Be the Benediction.”
Download the “Discipleship, Let’s Face It!” Facebook Cover Photo HERE
One of the ways we, at Pathways International, put a face on discipleship is through our Christmas Basket Project. You can find out more about that by visiting: http://wp.me/p1JPJU-1ay
* Any translation which suggests that “Go” in the Great Commission is “as you go,” is incorrect and incomplete. I personally translate “go” in Matthew 28:19,20 in this way “go and as you are going.”
** Eposé - the act or an instance of bringing a scandal, crime, etc., to public notice