A midterm exam, of all things, laid some Scripture on my heart in the last few days. The class is about renewal in the church. The question was how we might place at the center of the life of the church the “imitation of Jesus.”
At first, I wanted to quibble with the idea of imitating Jesus. It felt dangerously close to reducing Jesus to an example or engaging in some sort of outward pantomime. But when I turned to my most beloved New Testament epistle, 1 John, I discovered these words:
Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. Whoever says, “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk just as he walked. (1 John 2:3-6, NRSV)
So I find myself today asking what it means to say we walk as he walked. What would it mean for you and me as individuals? What would it mean for congregations and the entire church?