You're Not A Well
by sam riedel
Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel.
How have you lived in the last few weeks? Few of us would have imagined that the coming of spring weather would coincide with shelter at home orders. That the warmth of early morning sunlight is felt in tandem with anxiety over a cough in a grocery store line. How strange and surreal to live in such times. How strange it is in fact to continue to abide with Christ in such times. To gather in fellowship at a distance and to break bread through a phone call. It is a long-distance relationship, but the lovers have been replaced with friends, coworkers, and family.
In my life this most peculiar climate has led to a series of conversations with friends, colleagues, and books concerning a particular question. How does one “live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ” in such times? What is the daily rhythm of Christian discipleship when communion seems to be separated and our choirs are silent? Through prayer and reflection, I have found one story that, at least to me, has provided a response.
When Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman concerning water that fails to quench our thirst, discussed husbands, sin, who he was and what he was about something peculiar was ensuing. For the first time in their lives the disciples simply watched. They considered, they questioned, they discussed what they were to do about Jesus speaking with such a woman. Yet in the end they did nothing. The woman spoke with Christ, they did not intervene, and the town was led to understand God in a new way.
In an odd way I would possibly encourage a “life worthy of the Gospel” as the life that does not intervene. The life that prayerfully and faithfully is still and does not speak. That we might draft the posture of the same such disciples. That our friend and teacher Paul himself may approve of such a way of being in times such as ours. We have all watched with increasing frustration as many of our fellow Christians have endeavored to describe their ministries as essential. As critical. As inescapable. The quality of the early disciples was most certainly shown by their evangelism, their energy, their vision. But at times it was their silence above all that showed their faith. Their ability to rest and pray while God is at work.
It is my hope that as we progress through these times together you might find time to rest and pray. To be still and not speak if you have nothing to say. Do not forget that our ministry and our discipleship is but the fruit of the tree. We are those that drink the water, we are not the well.
Grace and Peace,