The Pastor's Buzz

Pastor Buzz Trexler's blog for God's people in The Meadow.

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Name: Buzz Trexler
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Journalist for 29 years; married to Donna for 28 years; parent of David, 27, and Elizabeth, 24; pastor of Green Meadow United Methodist Church in Alcoa since 2002.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"The Imitation Of Christ"

One of the best things about going to Local Pastor's Licensing School in 2001 was being given a handful of small pamphlets published by The Upper Room called "Great Devotional Classics."

One such book included selections from "The Imitation of Christ." (c 1950, The Upper Room, Nashville, TN) Douglas V. Steere, who edited the selections for The Upper Room, notes the question of authorship "is a point of stormy historical controversy." Still, he says, "There is sufficent evidence to convince the best contemporary scholars that the original text was written by Gerard Groote himself before his early in 1374, and that Thomas a Kempis, who actually issued the little book, was only the scribe and editor."

It was the teachings of Groote, Steere explains, that spawned a lay group called Brethren of the Common Life that formed in Holland toward the end of the 14th century. "The Imitation of Christ" was finally published in 1441. (I would prefer to merely refer to the author as "The Imitator.")

The little book has great potential for sparking renewal in the heart and mind.

Steere quotes Meister Eckhart as saying, "There are many who are willing to follow our Lord half way -- but not the other half."

He also references the words of Karl Heim: "What Jesus wants is not admirers, but disciples ..."

Hear these words from The Imitator:

"'The one who follows does not walk in darkness,'" says the Lord. These are the words of Christ, by which we are taught to imitate his life and manners, if we would be truly enlightened, and be delivered from all blindness of heart. Our chief endeavor should then be to meditate upon the life of Christ. ..."

"Thou art a man and not God; thou art flesh, not an angel ..."

"For a small income a long journey is undertaken; for everlasting life many will scarce once lift a foot from the ground."

"If you would reign with me, bear the cross with me. For only servants of the cross cand find the way of blessedness and of true light."

"I have begun, I may not go back, neither is it fit to leave that which I have undertaken. Courage then, brethren, let us go forward together. Jesus will be with us. ... He will be our helper who is also our guide and forerunner."

As I move through this little pamphlet, I invite you to come along on this journey of renewal in following Christ.

Let us be "Imitators of Christ."

Grace and peace ...