Learning Christ

4 May 2020 by Rev Andrew Smith in: Letters, Thoughts, News

 Rev Andrew Smith

I will spend at least one period of the week learning Christ

During this time of being homebound there are stories of people being quite creative in and around the home. For some this is out of necessity to be keeping children entertained and to stimulate their learning. For others there may be a little more leisure in their creativity. People are setting up chook houses in their backyards (maybe to have a surer supply of eggs when shelves are sometimes empty!). Others are spending more time in the garden. Perhaps someone in your home is experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes. Being around the home more, there is greater opportunity for recipes having several preparation steps that need to be done at intervals in advance of cooking. Marinating comes to mind. It always takes organisation and time. The more time the better, and tastier!!

Marinating is an image that Michael Frost uses for his fourth habit of highly missional people in his handy little book “Surprise the World”. He speaks of us marinating our minds and souls in the life of Jesus Christ through the habit of spending at least one period of the week learning Christ. This is going to take time. And like marinating food, the more time the better, and the greater distinctive flavour you’ll have as a Jesus follower.

In addition to the devotional value of growing closer with Jesus through this habit, there is the missional value: we need to know Jesus Christ if we are going to share him as the reason for the hope we have. As Frost says: “’Learning Christ’ helps us understand Jesus better and provides the tools for appropriating his example into our lives”.

Frost doesn’t want this habit to replace whatever other regular devotional or Bible reading habits you currently have. Rather, he wants this habit to work in addition to those habits. He suggests three things you might do with the additional time:

  • Read, reread, and reread again the four Gospels;
  • Read about Jesus in the many scholarly and popular works written about him;
  • View filmed versions of the Gospels.

In doing this we will marinate our minds and souls in the story of Jesus – slowly but surely orienting our lives toward the things of Christ, and becoming deeply familiar with his story “so we can share it whenever anyone asks for the reason for the hope we have in him”.

Imagine being so caught up in the life Jesus Christ that it bubbles up in your choices, your actions and your words – somewhat like a teenager who is captivated by a celebrity, or a sportsperson who admires and emulates a professional sportsperson, or an intellectual whose worldview is framed by a particular scholar.

In this time of being homebound perhaps you are finding yourself with more time. Perhaps you are finding yourself with less time as boundaries between work, home and schooling children become very blurred. In either case, Frost urges us to marinate our minds and souls in the story of Jesus.

PS – For those who are balancing being parents and teachers for their children’s schooling, is there the space to use Gospel versions pitched at your children’s reading level as part of their reading program? This might even be something that could be done together – multiple minds being marinated