Identity

Over the past few weeks we have been taking part, with a number of other friends, in an informal weekly quiz night. All run of course virtually, in the comfort of our own homes, via the wonders of technology. Each week one of us had been taking turns to set and ask the questions and it came round to being our turn to be the ‘hosts’. The week before others had jokingly suggested that they had better do some revision on the bible and all things religious as I would be setting the questions!

So as not to disappoint, tucked in between a round of questions about the UK and a round where all of the answers were numbers, I duly obliged with a round titled ‘Holy, Holy.’ Questions included,
How long was John Paul I pope for? (In days). In which book of the Old Testament will you find the original story of Joseph and his coat of many colours?
and several others.

But this all made me think about how people see me and what their expectations are. I suppose naturally others think that as a Deacon I have a reasonable knowledge of things that might be considered to be ‘religious’. But the reality is that I tend to do equally well on the quiz questions about sport or pot luck as I do with the ‘holy’ questions.

What do others see as my identity – what do I see as being my identity? If I was to ask others how they see me I would probably get the answers of husband, dad, grandpa, son, brother, uncle, friend, neighbour, deacon, chaplain, retired fire-fighter, student, and so the list could continue and continue. The same is true for each of us. The list might be a little different here and there, but often it will be the same. And the identity that someone gives to us, in many ways colours how they see us and expect us to act.

But I wondered, if we were asked to draw up our own list, how many would include the word disciple? Each one of us who has been baptised and affirms that we follow our faith, is just that – a disciple of Christ.

That then poses a different question of how we view a disciple? How we think a disciple should act and look? What we think a disciple should say and know? Is our image of a disciple of someone who was around at the time of Christ, or is it someone from here and now? Jesus chose the everyday people who were around Him to be His followers, He still chooses the everyday you and me to be His followers. So if we respond to His call then we are disciples.

The call to live as Christ asks us to shapes our identity, and should shape how others see us. There is a saying that is sometimes used to challenge our attitude to faith that goes:
If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Perhaps now, whilst we have the time, would be a good opportunity to reflect on my identity as a disciple – Do I see myself as one who properly follows Christ?

And if you are wondering about the quiz questions. You can always do what I did and look the answers up!

Deacon Ian Black

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