“But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.”
One of the earliest Christian writings is called The Diidache (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles). Written around 100 A.D., it is a sort of catechism that lays out two ways: the way of life and the way of death. What comes through in the short document clearly is that there is a connection between the Christian faith and every part of a Christian’s life.
One of the most significant challenges that the Church faces is that the Christian faith has become compartmentalized in the lives of individual Christians. Rather than the Christian faith being a way of life, it is confined in many cases to an hour on Sunday morning (if it fits in with an already busy schedule). Part of what can be gleaned from The Didache is that the Christian faith is more than the just a set of teachings or a prescribed time for worship, but rather a way of life. The earliest label given to Christians was that of “followers of the Way.” Jesus had called himself “the way, the truth and the life.”
Life in Christ is not just the hope of eternal life but living in relationship with God and, consequently, that God places us into relationship with others. Life in Christ has to do with one’s body, marriage, work, and relationships. The Christian faith is an entire way of life and therefore no part of one’s life is divorced from Christ. While we want to avoid the extreme of legalism, the Church today treads too softly into conversations about the connection between faith and life. The effect has been that Christians too often look just like everyone else. When we hear Jesus call Christians to be salt and light in the world, it is a call to a way of life that is different than the world. The Christian view of marriage, parenting, work, and citizenship are all rooted in Christian vocation and the service that each Christian offers to Christ and their neighbor in response to God’s immeasurable grace.
Now is the time for pastors and parishioners to return to the Scriptures and Luther’s Small Catechism in connecting faith and life. Our world needs legislators who seek to serve their neighbors in love and humility. Our towns need parents who see and believe that God has called them into the vocation to serve and teach children as a form of worship. Our congregations are the places where sinners are called out of darkness and into the marvelous light of God’s gracious love and into a new way of life as the saints of God. May God bless and strengthen us to be followers of the Way, Jesus Christ!
Prayer – Almighty God, whom to know is everlasting life, grant us perfectly to know Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be the way, the truth, and the life, that following His steps we may steadfastly walk in the way that leads to eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan