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Obligation


5 July 2024

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18:2

[Adapted from “Joyful Service: Receiving and Sharing God’s Compassion” by David Nii, Sept/Oct 2023 Herald, p. 23]

Many of us object to a question asked in some Christian circles, “Are you saved?” Not because salvation is unimportant to us, but because we leave judgment in the hands of God and do not accept a God with a narrow prerequisite for sharing divine forgiveness and compassion.

We do not prioritize salvation as an individualistic reality, but more importantly, understand it as a communal aspiration. Sincere disciples of Jesus Christ continually grow their relationship with God through spiritual formation and good works of service for the benefit of community.

My evolving understanding of, and appreciation for, faithful discipleship moves me toward a growing focus of receiving and sharing the immense nature of God’s compassion, forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing in community. This journey does not emerge from obligation or the need to meet criteria or reach specific goals and outcomes.

Healthy faith primarily is living with vulnerability to receive God’s compassion and grace, and then in response humbly sharing talents and resources for the benefit of others, our neighborhoods, and our world. Acts of service do not lead to personal reward other than an authentic joy in experiencing the essence of God.

Receiving and sharing God’s generous grace are at the heart of discipleship in Jesus Christ. Joyful service is not a cause but a natural outcome of receiving and sharing God’s compassion.

Everyone has a unique blend of talents, treasures, time, and testimony. No act of compassionate service is too small to be invaluable for the people served and the servers themselves. A quote often attributed to Helen Keller, inspires me: “I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something. …I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

We are invited and called to an ever-expanding faith journey of receiving and sharing the divine compassion of God. This is at the heart of Christlike, joyful service.

Prayer Phrase

“For by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:8).

Spiritual Practice

The Jesus Prayer of Mercy

The Jesus Prayer is an ancient spiritual practice from Orthodox Christianity. It is a way of connecting with the gracious Spirit of Christ as we ask to receive his mercy. The prayer comes from the scripture of the blind man calling Jesus to heal him. Silently enter prayer and let your breath become slow and even. Greet God and then take up the prayer phrase: Lord, Jesus Christ (as you breathe in) … have mercy on me (as you breathe out). Prayerfully repeat these words for several minutes (or forty times). Breathe the presence of Christ into your mind, heart, and body. Be transformed as you receive the compassionate, peaceful heart of Jesus.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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