We are called to the continual work of formation in the Christian life, yet it can be easy to drift into complacency. Br. John Braught discusses how the sacraments of the church help ground us in the accountability of true Christian fellowship.
Transcript: The second mark of mission, “Teach, baptize, and nurture new believers,” is about formation. We are continually called as believers to grow, change, convert, invite God more and more into our lives, and we’re called to help others do the same. But there can be a tendency, I think, to drift into complacency if we aren’t held accountable or driven by some need to grow. We can settle for good enough, and that’s not God’s will for us, I don’t think.
The shape that formation has taken in the church has been in the form of the sacraments: baptism, confirmation, confession, communion, holy orders, marriage, anointing the sick. Now all of these sacraments deal with accountability. Baptism and confirmation, which is the adult affirmation for baptismal vows, a sign in community of something that has happened to us, of new life being given to us. Confession, obviously sharing ourselves with another person.
Accountability is so important in the Christian life because Christian fellowship that calls us to grow is based on mutuality, not hierarchy as is often supposed. It’s not as if one person, a priest for example, has all the information. But a true Christian fellowship is based on giving and receiving, helping others and being helped by helping them, allowing yourself to be helped, and thereby helping others by letting them help you.
Now many people that I have met – and I, myself, can be guilty of this – have an easier time helping than being helped. But both are essential for our own growth and for the growth of others, and for the growth of the community.
In what ways are you helping to form others? In what ways are you being formed?
– Br. John Braught
Question: In what ways are you helping form others? In what ways are you being formed?
This activity invites you to explore the Baptismal Covenant in prayer and reflection during your day and throughout the week. Each morning, write a short prayer based on that day’s question from the Baptismal Covenant. Each evening, reflect on how you are living into this aspect of your faith.