As we enter the season of Lent, we'll be inviting several members of our congregation to share personally what the Holy Spirit is stirring in them through this series on "Untamed Discipleship" and their engagement with the Gospel of Mark. And who better to start us off then Carol Wagner, the President of the Congregation?
Carol Wagner has blessed Fellowship tremendously over the past two years with her excellent leadership. She is one of the finest leaders I know--intelligent, passionate, humble, gracious, winsome, and a life-long learner (which is exactly what a disciple is). Here are some of her personal reflections on what she is learning about discipleship:
In spite of being distant from my church family for the past couple months (I've been down in Arizona with my husband, Jan), I have kept up with the sermons and study of Mark. It has been most rewarding.
There are two words that come to mind when I think of this deep look at discipleship. First is "choice". As Jesus called the disciples and each one of us, we have a choice whether we will follow or not. That is not a one time choice but requires choosing to follow daily, and even moment by moment as we become more and more aware of how we respond to Jesus' call to radical discipleship. I must confess that too often I have preferred the comfort and security of life, rather than risking for Christ.
Which brings me to my second word: "challenge". I am challenged with this focus to put my complete trust in Christ and obediently act to share my faith in word and deed. It seems to me that our cultural values have crept into our faith communities often in subtle ways; challenging those ways among those we live and love is not always easy. But this study has challenged me to be more outspoken by being in conversation with those who may not think or see discipleship in a radical manner. One of those areas of growth for me is the area of justice. How do I live out justice when I have lived a privileged life? How am I working to alleviate injustice in the world? It is easy to say that I accept all people, but to act on that acceptance in seeking those who are different from me and trust that God will expand my life through them is the obedience God requires of me.
The other area of this study that has gripped me is the depth of understanding of Jesus' suffering. During this Lenten season, I have contemplated the enormous suffering of the Christ, carrying the burdens of God's children around the world in current events: from riots, wars, greed, selfishness, grasp for power, apathy, natural disasters as well as the Church's failings throughout the ages....Jesus has carried it all for us. It is my prayer that in gratitude and awe I will mature into an "untamed" disciple of Christ.