This morning I was reflecting on Thomas a’ Kempis’ thoughts on the importance of imitating the life of Jesus: “He who follows me, walks not in darkness, ” (Jn 8:12) says the Lord. By these words of Christ we are advised to imitate his life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and free from all blindness of heart. Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus Christ.”
I love studying the life of Jesus. It was the story of his life that first turned my lost heart to God. As a freshman in college, I would read and reread the four gospel accounts and take notes on the way Jesus spoke and interacted with a variety of people. I loved how he ripped into the religious people of his day, yet demonstrated great patience and forgiveness to the downtrodden and outcast. I gave my life to God because I wanted to live like Jesus (though at the time I had no idea how terribly difficult this is).
The students here in Kent arrived about a week ago and our new church has big dreams of reaching young people. More than ever before, I feel the weight of this truth that we are called to imitate Christ. We have no building, no advertising campaign, no critical mass of people, no flashy worship service. What we have is the Spirit of God alive in our hearts- moving us to engage with people as Jesus did. Moving us to reach out and give to those in need. Moving us to proclaim the arrival of God’s Kingdom through Jesus. Moving us to be a people set apart by God.