What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? What does the job description look like? If we read the Gospels with the question “What does this tell me about being a disciple of Jesus” we begin to discover who we are. On a recent Sunday we heard a reading drawn from the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy (Deut.30:10-14). This book presents the directions or rules for living as a faithful member of God’s People. There we are told that as a People of God we are to turn to God with all our heart and soul. According to Deuteronomy this will not be difficult, for what we are called to rests within the human heart. It wells up from within us, if we allow it. Being a disciple begins here in a heart that longs for God.
What is demanded of us is the commitment to live with what we discover in our hearts. This is no surprise, for every human friendship we experience is nurtured by the degree or level of our heartfelt engagement with the other person. Friendship is dependent on our willingness to commit time, attention and caring for another person. Discipleship in Jesus Christ has this demand. For discipleship is a form of relationship.
The Gospel writer John presents a series conversations between Jesus and his disciples. They have been listening to him for some time. More than this, they have been following him around, spending time with him, walking with him, talking with him, eating with him. They have accepted his words and they have also questioned him. But overall, they have been with him, engaged and committed to him. They have become his friends. In one of his farewell discourses, John presents Jesus telling his disciples: “I do not call you servants any longer,… I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” (John 15:15)
The Disciple Maker Index survey that every person in our parish was invited to complete earlier this year asked a number of questions that lead us to reflect on our own discipleship. What is our relationship with Jesus? Is it strong and growing? Does my parish community lead me and others into a strong spirituality and friendship with Jesus?
In a few weeks we will hear the results of this survey for our own parish and for our diocese. It will be an opportunity to reflect on how we can nurture the discipleship we have and how we can share this with others. It will lead us over the next year or so in the realignment of our parishes to become more vital and active communities of disciples of Jesus in our province.