A number of years ago I ran across this quote from the sunglassed Irishman, and frontman for the band U2, Bono, that struck me:
Your nature is a hard thing to change; it takes time…. I have heard of people who have life-changing, miraculous turnarounds, people set free from addiction after a single prayer, relationships saved where both parties "let go, and let God." But it was not like that for me. For all that "I was lost, I am found," it is probably more accurate to say, "I was really lost. I'm a little less so at the moment." And then a little less and a little less again. That to me is the spiritual life. The slow reworking and rebooting the computer at regular intervals, reading the small print of the service manual. It has slowly rebuilt me in a better image. It has taken years, though, and it is not over yet.
(U2 (with Neil McCormick), U2 by U2 (HarperCollins, 2006), p. 7)
I think a lot about what it means to follow Jesus, both for myself and as it concerns us together at Christ Church. There are couple things that I think this quote highlights well. First, it is process; a long process, a slow process. There are no short cuts. There is no warp speed. It is simply day by day looking to Jesus, day by day scouring His Word. It is the day by day rubbing shoulders with other followers of Jesus, rubbing off our sharp edges and anxieties. It is the weekly coming together for word and sacrament, worship and prayer. As Bono collaborator, Eugene Peterson, said discipleship is a “long obedience in the same direction”.
The second thing that stands out with this quote is the idea of being a little less lost. If we take this to mean that we are getting more and more saved as we go, we will have missed the meaning and stumbled into a form of moralism. However, if by "a little less lost" Bono means, and we mean, that we more quickly orient ourselves back to True North when we stray, then we are talking true discipleship. To be a disciple of Jesus means we come back to Him; over and over and over. We mark our growth as Jesus’ followers not by how frequently (or infrequently) we stray, but rather by how quickly we abandon our forays and return to Jesus. This is how I read the little less lost. If you like more traditional language, we could also call it a life of repentance (turning from) and faith (turning to).
So I look forward to opening Luke 5 with you again this week (vv. 17-26). I look forward to prayers spoken and sung. I look forward to rubbing shoulders, shaking hands, and coming together around the Lord’s Table. Most of all I look forward to seeing Jesus yet again, having him imprinted on my whole being, so that I can go through my weeks a little less lost.