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Pastor's Notes from The Scribe (May 2014)

posted May 4, 2014, 5:20 AM by Pastor Russ Crouthamel

Diabetes – a disease that is one of the silent and slow killers in our society.  Over the years, I have a learned a great deal about diabetes because there are cases of it on my maternal side.  My education has included ways to prevent diabetes and the best possible ways to treat the disease once it has been diagnosed.


Like any disease, the best possible treatment is a comprehensive one: a treatment course that focuses on the well-being of the whole body in combination with treatment under a medical doctor.  In the case of diabetes, this involves healthy eating, exercise, and stress management.  For instance, only taking a pill or a shot of insulin may help to a point, but healthy eating and exercise leads to better management of the disease.  Or, if sugar levels have been at a consistent high, healthy eating and exercise might help lower them, but usually some type of medication will help reduce the sugar to a healthy level.  Finally, if a person with diabetes has high levels of stress, the body may not be able to properly utilize the medication to help in the cellular process.  So, it is good to focus on the mental and emotional well-being of the person.     


Now, you might be wondering, “Pastor, what does this topic have to do with the ministry and mission of the church?”  Well, these thoughts are an illustration (like in a weekly sermon).  On April 20, we celebrated Easter.  Like Christmas, Easter is not simply a one day celebration but an entire season.  Easter is a time to celebrate the transformative power of God in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God conquered the power of death by taking the broken body of Jesus and resurrecting his body to new life. Through the grace given to us in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we too, have been transformed.  We have been transformed individually: our bodies of sin and death have been transformed to new life (new life in the presence and the promise to be resurrected in the world to come).  We have been transformed communally: God through the Spirit is constantly at work renewing the Body of Christ and making the Body of Christ into faithful followers of Jesus. 


Nevertheless, we are not to remain inactive in this transformative process.  We need to engage actively in spiritual practices of discipleship in order to live fully as transformed people.  And, focusing on one spiritual practice over other ones does not help us live as fully as the transformed people of God (i.e., thinking that praying is enough, but not going to worship; or, believing that we only need to serve, but do not need to read the Bible daily).  It is helpful to follow an all-inclusive approach to spiritual practices.  


So, how can we engage more fully and holistically in the transformed life God promised to us in the waters of our baptisms?  I have always appreciated Michael Foss’ writings about the “Six Marks of Discipleship” (Rev. Foss has written extensively on the topic of Christians seeking to apply their faith to everyday life).  The six marks of discipleship he describes are: 1) daily prayer, 2) weekly worship, 3) daily Bible reading, 4) serving in and beyond the congregation, 5) nurturing relationships, and 6) giving a tithe or beyond.  These marks help the individual and community grow into their faith as the Body of Christ.  I think they are ways to live more fully as the transformed people of God.  I encourage you, during this Easter season, to meditate on what God in Christ has done for you – transformed you to new life.  Then, engage in the various practices that help us live that transformed life to its fullest potential.


In Christ – Pastor Maureen  


Prayer: Gracious God, through the faithful work of Jesus Christ, you have transformed our bodies of sin and death into the likeness of Christ’s life and resurrection.  By your Spirit, guide us to live more fully as your transformed people so that we might proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to all people and to the ends of the earth.  Amen.