‘We do not invite Christ to follow us‘ is a somewhat free translation of some words by Bonhoeffer. My response to which is, ‘No, but he does it anyway’.
Christ is behind me. He has my back. Which is just as well. Of course, I do often forget this and feel got at and become defensive, until I remember, Christ is behind me.
Christ is beside me. Not just following but accompanying. My best companion. ‘Who is that next to you?’ Christ of course.
Christ is above me and below me. Such ancient ideas (from St Patrick’s breastplate) might now mean something different in our hierarchical world in which social standing is held up as everyone’s aspiration. Only it’s not. Christ already has those positions covered. Above us and below us, it’s Christ.
Christ in hearts of all who love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger. Whatever we think folks are talking about, they are speaking Christ is we listen enough. They are loving us in Christ.
Christ is within me. At this moment my abdominal cavity is abominal as it tries to deal with an influx of unwanted bacteria. But Christ is there within me.
Most of all Christ is before me. Bonhoeffer was probably aiming at this with his opening remarks: ‘We do not invite Christ to follow us’. We follow Christ. There’s always following to do. Not sure what to do today? Then follow Christ, whether you look at his back or his face. Yesterday in the queue at the bank they had provided some helpful footprints on the floor to show you what direction to take. Christ does this everyday.
Following Christ is much more than a direction which is why, according to this ancient Irish Prayer, Christ is there in every direction.
In our life and our believing
The love of God
Reflection on St Patrick’s Breastplate