Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Disciple

In chapter twelve we come to a section around one word which no one who has known me for a long time would ever associate with me, discipline. When I was young and stupid, excuse the redundancy, I hated structure. The word routine was synonymous with boredom. Only in middle age did I truly come to appreciate the profound connection between being a disciple and the absolute requirement of discipline.

Three Greek words say it all. In the first reading today we are commanded,

My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
or lose heart when reproved by him;
for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;

The word for discipline is paideia which comes from the verb paideuo (to educate, to train, to raise) which in turn comes from the word pais which means both son and servant.

Jesus is THE pais, the son who is also the servant. The one who does the will of the father. If I wish to be a true son pais, I need to be educated paideuo, and this process requires paideia.

We can separate being sons and daughters of God from discipline. It is all interconnected.

The next phrase from Hebrews is harsh,

He scourges every son he acknowledges

,the inference being that there are some children who are bastards. They are not disciplined, not educated. These are the ones who run wild, do as they please, and remain in the dark.

The simple truth is God always does what is good for us, and at times it is horribly painful. But God is the perfect parent who will do whatever it takes to set us on the right path, to teach us humility, obedience, and discipline. He wants to make us true disciples, legitimate children.

As always the choice is ours: to be disciplined legitimate children, or self sufficient bastards.