Where do transformation, inspiration and calling come from?

From Our Leaders

July 12, 2023 | Opinion | Volume 27 Issue 14D
Fanosie Legesse | Mennonite Church Eastern Canada
(Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

The book of Hebrews argues that nothing compares with Jesus. Jesus is the living God, the everlasting high priest and the redeemer of humanity. The author uses a metaphor of running an agonizing race to describe the believer’s call, a call to carry one’s cross and walk to Calvary to crucify all that is against God’s eternal will.

Why should we persist in transforming our lives to fit the course, instead of changing the course to fit our situations? Why are we intentional in being inspired to continue the journey, despite the struggle? Why do we believe that our covenant relationship with God and each other is our calling in life, and not just a temporary pledge?   

1. We belong to the company of the covenant people of God

We identify with those in Hebrews 11 and the believers after them. We belong to the company of all of the Old and New Testament believers who truly followed God. We belong to the church fathers who never wavered from the way of Jesus even though they suffered. The Anabaptist believers who chose the way of discipleship and peace interconnect with our identity.

Following the example of this holy pilgrimage, we choose to allow the Holy Spirit to transform our lives continuously. We draw inspiration from the stories of those who have walked before us. We know that growing together into the likeness of Christ Jesus is not just a choice, but a lifelong calling.

2.We know the joy that comes from journeying together

The writer of Hebrews gives us a bird’s eye view of the tested faithfulness of those who went before us. We know from the biography of the believers who trusted God that the reward is endlessly enjoying God’s presence. People would have expected “an eye for an eye” response from Jesus as he was put to death, but instead he prayed for those who killed him. Why? Because he clearly knew the joy that comes as the result of this agony and calls us to join him in this joy-inducing suffering.

I saw the spiritual courage that believers show under persecution during the communist regime in Ethiopia. Abebe, a friend of my grandfather, declared his faith in Christ to everyone he met. He was not even a year old in his new faith in Christ when the government handcuffed him and dragged him on rural roads as villagers watched. They did this because he refused to recant his faith in Christ. He proclaimed loudly: “My Lord Jesus, I rejoice that you have given me the joy of sharing your suffering. Now I understand what you have done for me on the cross even better.”

It is time for us to take our faith seriously as we look at the story of our biblical faith community, early church leaders and the Anabaptist covenant community. Let us renew our covenant with God and each other as we stay on the path to the heavenlies together.

Fanosie Legesse is the intercultural mission minister for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada.

Read more From Our Leaders columns:
A plastic chair partnership
Are pick-and-shovel prayers still tearing through God’s rooftop?
The idol of neutrality
Time to be a champion
‘Camp shapes people’

(Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

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