We’ve studied the Bible for 19 weeks now in our Disciple Bible class at First United Methodist Church of West Allis. Truly, it is a marvelous curriculum, and I am with a wonderful group. I have thought about how the Marks of Discipleship make a strong litany, and as we enter the New Testament this month, I am reminded of the orientation to Action for Disciples.
Disciples place themselves under the power and authority of Scripture–
–Free in the Word!
Disciples know that they belong to God, that God has claim on them–
–We act on our discipleship with Jesus, eternal Word!
Disciples acknowledge their rebelliousness, and repent–
–We turn away, sometimes many times.
Disciples respond to God’s call, enter the covenant community, express committment–
–called and shaped, sometimes many times!
Disciples keep God’s Law by doing it–
–Keep us obedient that we might find happiness in the commands.
Disciples commit to corporate worship–
–Offerings and thanksgiving, help us pass through our guilt and shame.
Disciples are Godly leaders–
–Keep Nathans in our lives. Sometimes we hate Nathans.
Disciples respect and support Godly leaders but give true allegiance only to God–
–God, bless our actions and keep us right.
Disciples listen to prophetic voices for our communities, nations, and world–
–Holy One, open our ears.
Disciples accept consequences of our sins, seek forgiveness–
–Creator, heal us, and offer us new opportunities for faithfulness–even when we fail.
Disciples choose to serve and not to despair–
–In our sinful despair, teach us to pick up the towel and wash feet.
Disciples trust God with all their thoughts and feelings–
–God, do be in us. Joyful!
Disciples strive to live in harmony with God’s laws, even when it is costly–
–Make us servants of the Word!
Disciples trust God in the face of unexplained suffering–
–Keep our focus upward. Heal us, as we minister.
Disciples live in hope, with a vision of God’s kingdom–
–We are God’s people!
Disciples hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ in harmony with the historic people of God–
–We yearn to be with our God, held by God.
Disciples enter the ministry of making disciples–
–Keep us vulnerable, lead us from our pretenses.
Disciples understand our ministry as a call to self-denial and suffering–
–My suffering is not FOR me.
Disciples are in mission with the least, the last and the lost–
–Keep us walking WITH those we serve.
Disciples experience life in Jesus Christ–
–Lord, I am at peace, in joy, beyond meaninglessness. I know I have purpose.
Disciples experience the inner assurance of abundant, eternal life–
–It is personal in this relationship. Eternal life!
Disciples experience the Holy Spirit–
–So much life, gifts to each of us!
Disciples witness to others in order to lead them to Christ–
–Let my whole life be real witness, a Psalm of the Gospel!
Disciples receive and accept the forgiving Love of God in Jesus Christ, and serve out of love and gratitude–
–Trust and grace in our lives today!
–Simply difficult! Just do it?
Disciples experience and express freedom as loving God and loving neighbor–
–Freedom again! Keep us free!
Disciples accept God’s forgiveness–
–as hard as we try to forgive ourselves, we feel God’s grace as we serve.
Disciples know themselves as distinctive, peculiar people bearing the mark of Jesus–
–Mark our character deeply, our outward selves marked with compassion–
–Keep us Holy!
Disciples remain faithful to God in the midst of persecution and suffering–
–Holy One, strengthen my faith as I lose my temper around suffering souls.
Disciples exercise their gifts in ministry to others–
–Direct our eyes and our souls outwardly each day!
Disciples commit their lives completely to God to serve as God wills–
–Keep our memory vital!
For me it is right to conclude with John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer:
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put met to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by you or laid aside by you,
enabled for you or brought low by you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
you are mine, and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.