Explain how living as a Christian disciple may influence the lives of Christians today.
Christianity is an entire way of life. It’s not only a part of your life it is your whole life. It is a sense of being with God. It is not a one way system, but in fact a two way bond. Being a disciple of God gives you a sense of who you are. You have the position of being part of God’s children as well as being a child of your parents. This is an incomparable feeling. A Christian is a person who lives their life daily for God. By praying on a regular basis, reacting positively not negatively with people and being an optimistic person rather than a pessimistic one. Christianity focuses a lot on how people treat others. Christianity believes everyone is equal. Nobody is better than someone else, even if they are richer. A disciple believes Christ is with you at all times. To become a Christian you must try and be the best you can be. An example of this would be the story about the Pharisee and the tax collector, having the best humanity.
To develop into a Christian you need to know the principles. You need to live your life a certain way. That means you might have to sacrifice a few things but in the long run you will be rewarded. Again you must know how to deal with people.
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,’ and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ (Luke 10 vs. 27)
A person needs to be willing to give up luxuries in order to gain better things. For instance a Christian must give 10% of their total income to either a church or a charity. But the more essential factor is time. Time is more precious than rubies. Time must be taken out of your day to think about God or even the elderly lady next door who lives all alone. Your attitude towards people is very important.
Being a Christian affects what career you wish to pursue. Certain professions are considered unethical and therefore are not allowed. A job such as working in an abortion clinic, you are taking away a life which has a right to live, which is unjust. Another job which gives people grief is a traffic warden.
A Christian has an important role to play in the family and in the home. There must be peaceful negotiation and they must always remember that children usually learn from the examples of their parents. So as a parent you must do good things and not bad. You must know how to function in a family.
To be a dedicated Christian you are required to visit the church on a regular basis and to pray daily. At church Christians have communion, usually once a week. This is red wine and bread which s also called the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the ceremony in which Christ’s last meal with his disciples is celebrated with bread and wine, the bread symbolizes Jesus’ body and the wine Jesus’ blood. Although some Christians do not believe in going to church for example, Quakers and the Salvation Army. Quakers are Christians who do not have set services or have no ceremonies and do not do repeated rituals. The Salvation Army consider that you should be careful and make sure that ceremonies do not become more important than the meaning of the belief or faith. Also the Salvation Army do not drink any alcohol as when they first started the group alcohol was a serious problem, therefore they are not allowed to have communion as it involves wine.
There are many noble Christians who have acted as excellent role models, in the past and in the present day. Some of these famous Christian disciples are Oscar Romero, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu and many more. I am going to tell you about Desmond Tutu. Desmond Tutu was born in 1931 on the 7th October. He lived in South Africa, a society where coloured people were considered as outcasts, a racist system of apartheid.
They had to learn from an early age that their needs were considered less important than the needs of white people. They were not allowed to mix with the white people. For example black children could not go to the same school as a white child and at all times black people had to carry their passbooks to show who they were and if they had a right to be where they were, they also were not allowed to go into cafes or go to beaches and parks. In the street white police officers would look them up and down as if they were criminals. It was hard for children to grow up watching parents and role models being humiliated in this way.
Desmond Tutu went to an all black school. He worked willing and was therefore intelligent. He was a kind and gentle boy. At the age of 14 Desmond got Tb. He was put in hospital for 2 years. An English priest called Father Trevor Huddleston visited him every week. Trevor Huddleston had been trying to make the lives of the black people better. He believed apartheid was evil and very unchristian. He opened hostels and nurseries for homeless people o stay in at night. He also defended black people when they were challenged by the police. A life long friendship blossomed between Desmond and Trevor. During his stay in hospital Desmond became more thoughtful and reflective. He had a strong commitment towards Christianity and a spiritual approach to life. Desmond was influenced by humility, gentleness, selflessness from spiritual people like Trevor.
After leaving school Desmond decided train as a teacher. He worked as a teacher for a few years but he couldn’t stand there and watch his people suffer. He wanted to do something about it. So he left teaching and became a priest. In 1961 Desmond was ordained as a priest. He was given his own parish church and a proper house in an area of slum housing. It was rewarding work, a satisfying job with people who loved him having him as their priest. In 1962 he was offered to go to London to study for a second degree in theology. When he got there he couldn’t believe that he was allowed to walk freely and not have to check for signs where they were not allowed. He wasn’t searched by police; he didn’t have to carry a passbook around with him. He loved it. After 3 years when he returned to South Africa, he found it difficult being a second class citizen again.
From the understanding of the Bible he saw that Christianity stresses that all people are equal and that God wants people to be free. As a Christian he felt it was his responsibility to help black people become equal with white people. Two years later Desmond took a job in England. In 1975 he was given the post of Dean in Johannesburg. If he accepted it then this meant he would have to move back to South Africa. This post had always been held by white men so he wanted to make a change and accepted the post. The cathedral had a racially mixed congregation and clergy. Desmond bought in changes to the worship including shaking hands, hugging and kissing your neighbour on the cheek which made many fell more comfortable. In 1978 wealthier black people were starting to be allowed into a few public places but the community as a whole were kept as second class citizens.
In one of Desmond’s speeches he dramatically promised to burn his Bible on the day that he was proved wrong about apartheid being an evil. Another thing Desmond said in one of his speeches was,
“At home in South Africa I have sometimes said in big meetings where you have black and white together, ‘look at your hands-different colours representing different people. You are the rainbow people of God.’ And you remember the rainbow in the Bible is the sign of peace. The rainbow is the sign of prosperity. We want peace, prosperity and justice and we can have it when all the people of God, the rainbow people of God, work together.”
In 1984 he was awarded in the Nobel Peace Prize in America. Soon the whole world came to see Desmond as a symbol for the fight against apartheid. In 1986 he was further promoted to Archbishop of Cape Town, the first black man to hold this post. In 1989 F.W De Klerk became president. The ban on ANC and PAC was lifted symbolising freedom for all black South Africans after so many years of suffering.
In 1993 exclusive white rule finally ended. The result of the first democratic election was that in 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first black South African president. By 1996 there was a new constitution aimed at creating a full racial equality and harmony.
The hardest challenge facing bereaved families was not only to forgive those whom had caused their suffering, but to make sure that forgiveness was complete and unconditional as with Christian love. This would mean the new South Africa could grow from strong roots, unaffected by blame and bitterness.
I think Desmond Tutu was a good Christian disciple as he helped the black people of South Africa. He bought equality in South Africa which is what God says. He is helping others and spreading the good word of God. He is determined and will not give up when things get tough.
Another example of a good Christian disciple is a man called Oscar Romero. He was born in Ciudad Barrios, El Salvador in 1917. He was a Catholic man. He thought the best way to help people would be to serve God as a priest. He frequently visited prisoners in Gaol and he worked with alcoholics He promoted the activities of ‘Alcohol Anonymous.’ He set up charities to provide aid for the poor and the hungry. Oscar was a respected man. He spoke for the poor, opposed the government, opposed military and opposed rich families who influenced the politicians behind the scene. He was a determined Christian disciple. Romero’s aim in life was too help the poor and hungry and the only way he could help them was by making sure the church get a say in politics. He started at a seminary in San Miguel, in 1930. A few months later he was sent to Rome to complete his theological studies.
In 1942 he is ordained as a priest. In 1943 he returns to El Salvador having witnessed early years of the Second World War, in Europe. From 1944 he worked as a parish priest but a few months later he was called by the bishop to work as the secretary of the diocese, a post which he held for twenty-three years. During this time most of his pastoral work focused on the cathedral parish. Between 1962 and 1965 Romero was a largely important priest in the diocese. He was in charge of the local seminary and editor of the diocesan newspaper. In 1967 he was appointed as sanctuary, ‘General of the National Bishops’ Conference,’ and he moves to San Salvador. Then in 1968 he takes up an additional role for the, ‘Central American Bishops’ Secretariat.’ In 1968 the council of Medellin is held in Colombia. In 1970 Romero is made auxiliary assistant bishop in San Salvador. He becomes increasingly aware of the plight of the oppressed and the poor but resists the notion that the church should be too involved in politics. In 1974 Romero is made bishop of San Salvador. In 1977 he is made Archbishop of San Salvador. It was dangerous to be a Christian in El Salvador. To speak the Gospel message of God’s love for the poor and suffering of the world was to risk persecution.
This was a statement the government could not ignore. A person could not claim to be a Christian if he or she ignored the violence against so many in the country or if they ignored the bombings, the illegal detentions, the torture and the callous murders of men, women and children. These murders were seen as a direct attack on the church itself. It was an assault which the Church could not ignore. This is when Romero decided on his course of action. His thinking on religion and politics develops. He sees an increasing need for the church to have a voice in politics and becomes an outspoken critic of injustice and oppression. On the 24th March 1980 Oscar Romero is assassinated. On the 30th March 1980 the, ‘Palm Sunday Massacre,’ took place. He had the most powerful and influential voice of the Church and he was the spokesperson for the oppressed.
Romero believed that the Gospels did not see a division between religion and everyday life. In a world of fear and terror, Romero’s preaching of the Gospel message of love and justice was a source of hope for the people. One of the famous things Romero said was, ‘May Christ’s sacrifice give us the courage to offer our own bodies for justice and peace.’ His last sermon, on the Sunday before his death, was very significant. In it Romero made a special request to those with belief in God and those of Christian faith. It was a sermon which many believe cost him his life. In the sermon Romero said, ‘Nobody has to fulfil an immoral law. Now it is time that you recover your consciences and that you first obey your conscience rather than an order to sin. We want the Government to understand seriously that reforms are worth nothing if they are stained with so much blood. I beg, I ask, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression.’
A week after the preaching these words Oscar Romero was assassinated. In the days before the funeral crowds of people flooded into the city. Visitors arrived from all over the world. Not only the Church leaders but also important politicians from many countries were present. Romero had become a respected political as well as religious leader. Nuns and priests were gathered in a very public hunger strike. In protest at the killing of Romero, they were refusing to eat. This showed how great a person he was. There were as many as a hundred thousand people packed in every available space outside the cathedral, waiting for the funeral service. The solemn funeral service began in a dignified manner. During the sermon everyone listened intently to the words of remembrance for Oscar Romero.
During his life Romero tried to put such ideals into practice. His religious belief was always a practical matter and his great desire was to see people work together for a better world. Romero shared, with all who would listen a vision of justice in an injustice world. His life and martyrdom are remembered by millions. In a troubled world Romero remains as a sign of hope. Those who killed him may have thought that they would be silencing a powerful voice against injustice in El Salvador. They may have killed the man but the message of justice for all still lives today.