This Week's Focus: "Belonging"
         Click the link for John 10:22-30 


Dear Friends,

Just in case you’re still confused about exactly who Jesus is, he connects all the dots for us in this brief passage from John. His questioners want to know if he is the Messiah. And Jesus takes their inquiry and hits it out of the park, telling them: The Father and I are one. It doesn’t get any more succinct or definitive than that. Not only is Jesus the promised Messiah, he is God, the Son of the Father, no less the Deity than the Creator of the universe.

For good measure, he then doubles down on his promise of eternal life for those who belong to his flock. In this passage Jesus expands on his earlier metaphor of the Good Shepherd, making a distinction between those who hear and follow him and those who reject him. To follow Jesus means more than admiring his virtue and his wisdom. It means more than acknowledging him as a holy man and a wonder-worker. Being a Christian means accepting a world view that totally revolves around the risen Jesus, the Divine Son of the Father, the instrument of our salvation. In the Episcopal branch of Christianity, we call it The Way of Love.

That means your life is a journey with Jesus. It’s a tall order, not to be achieved in one miraculous leap. What does journeying with Jesus mean? First, let’s look at what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean mechanically checking the boxes of religious obligation: church on Sunday, check; stewardship, check; don’t rob any banks, check; don’t murder that annoying guy next door, check; don’t cheat on your spouse, check.

Journeying with Jesus is not about reluctantly meeting the minimum requirements of membership. It means actively, constantly living in his love… sharing his goodness not only with family, friends, and neighbors… but with the poor, the addicted and especially those victimized by racism and prejudice of all kinds.   

Journeying with Jesus is not feast or famine. It is feast and feast, through all the stages of our lives. It is the joy of discovery in childhood and youth. It is the growing resolve of virtue in maturity. It is fulfillment and consolation in declining years. It is the comfort of homecoming in our final days.  
We are made in God’s image for a purpose. Our lives are to be actively spent in loving God and neighbor. To forget our purpose, to take it for granted… to file it away as a get-out-of-hell-free card… is to make a mockery of Calvary… is to squander our salvation.

We are his. We belong to him. But this doesn’t mean we are inventoried and tucked away among the stars with all the other products of creation. For us belonging means actually being part of The Body of Christ… being linked to our Savior and to each other by bonds that mirror the atomic structure of the universe. From the time of our Baptism, Jesus lives in us. And we live in him.

From the cross he saw us in our every sin. He hung in agony that we may live in peace. In depression and despair, he is our anchor of hope. In repentance, he is the resident portal of God’s mercy. He is where we belong.

St. Patrick captured the totality of this “Belonging” when he prayed:

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ under me, Christ over me,
Christ to the right of me, Christ to the left of me,
Christ in lying down, Christ in rising up,
Christ in all…

Think of the saints. Think of the best people you have ever known. They were free because they knew they belonged… they belonged to The Body of Christ. It is one of those paradoxes that abound in Christianity that the more we belong, the more we are free… free of sin… free of fear… free of mortality. And with every passing day, the closer we journey with Jesus on The Way of Love…  the closer we are to the home where we will always belong.

Alleluia! He is risen.    

God love you!


A Reflection for 
The Fourth Sunday of Easter
©The Reverend Canon David F. Sellery

Copyright © 2019 David Sellery, All rights reserved.

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