September 9: The Call to Discipleship

Homily Series: Discipleship

Let Nothing Come Between You and the Lord

Fr. Steve addresses the difficult text from Luke's Gospel, where Jesus uses Aramaic hyperbole to demand that whoever would follow Him, must "hate" father, mother, etc., even his or her own life. Clearly, we are not commanded to hate those we love, but we should be careful that we don't let anything get between us and God, even those we love (or things we love too much).

Fr. Steve also quoted from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's great work, Cost of Discipleship, in light of the Gospel. Here is most of the excerpt he quoted:

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him . . . .

As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death—we give over our lives to death. Thus it begins; the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise godfearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow him [or death to something else]. . . But it is the same death every time—death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at his call. Jesus’ summons to the rich young man was calling him to die, because only the man who is dead to his own will can follow Christ. In fact every command of Jesus is a call to die, with all our affections and lusts. But we do not want to die, and therefore Jesus Christ and his call are necessarily our death as well as our life. The call to discipleship, the baptism in the name of Jesus Christ means both death and life. The call of Christ, his baptism, sets the Christian in the middle of the daily arena against sin and the devil. Every day he encounters new temptations, and every day he must suffer anew for Jesus Christ’s sake. The wounds and scars he receives in the fray are living tokens of this participation in the cross of his Lord. Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. The Cost of Discipleship . Touchstone. Kindle Edition.

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