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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Joy of Discipleship

(This is an email I sent to friend)

Here is a short passage from "The Cost of Discipleship" in the chapter "Grace and Discipleship" by Bonhoeffer. Two points that you've been a part of highlighting to me: Jesus isn't just about "emotional uplife" and grace is given to each in measure of Christ's gift.

I thought you might be encouraged by the following:

"It comes to us in the joy of discipleship and confirms us in it.

To endure the cross is not a tragedy; it is the suffering which is the fruit of an exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ. When it comes, it is not an accident, but inseparable from this mortal life, but a necessity. It is not the sort of suffering which is inseparable from this mortal life, but the suffering which is an essential part of the specifically Christian life. It is not suffering per se but suffering-and-rejection, and not rejection for any cause or conviction of our own, but rejection for the sake of Christ. If our Christianity has ceased to be serious about discipleship, if we have watered down the gospel into emotional uplife which makes no costly demands and which fails to distinguish between natural and Christian existence, then we cannot help regarding the cross as an ordinary everyday calamity, as one of the trails and tribulations of life. We have then forgotten that the cross means rejection and same as well as suffering. The Psalmist was lamenting that he was despised and rejected of men, and that is an essential quality of the suffering of the cross. but this notion has ceased to be intelligible to a Christianity which can no longer see any difference between an ordinary human life and a life committed to Christ....Each must endure his allotted share of suffering and rejection. But each has a different share...."