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Accountability: Week 3 | Day 4

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.

Question: In what ways are you helping form others? In what ways are you being formed?
Share your answer in the comments below or using #5marksoflove
Activity: Well of Life


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?

Week 3 Activity: Well of Life
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.

Watch Video Guidance | Download Activity as PDF | Sample Completed Activity

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13 Comments

  1. Pat Rowell on April 13, 2017 at 18:25

    Focusing on the sacredness of creation can occur at many levels. The church can institute green principles – recycling, no styrofoam, no paper plates or plastic cutlery, etc., put light dimmers on appropriate lights, etc.
    We can plant a children’s garden with food and flowers. We can hang and fill bird feeders and clean the existing bird houses hanging in the property. We can include prayers about nature and all that live therein for both adults and children. There are endless options if the will is there.

  2. Verlinda on March 16, 2017 at 12:21

    I think that our Education for Ministry group, and the very diverse group of friends that I have, go a long way toward forming me. Formation, in my mind, is a molding, a shaping of myself into a more full representation of what God wants me to be. I’m reminded, in small and large ways, of the impact other have had on me, and of the impact I’ve had on others. This is God at work in formation, moving through us.

  3. Stan on March 15, 2017 at 22:39

    I try to “preach” by example, always respecting, always listening, always caring, always humble, always considering. In response I gain much closer relationships with my coworkers and other acquaintances. This teaches me about compassion.

    One of my weak spots is that I don’t always see opportunities to help people. I’ll see someone struggling to do some task which I could easily help them with, yet, my eyes seem to remain blind that the fact that I could have helped them. It’s usually somebody else who comes to the rescue, making me wonder where my head was at that moment to not even notice their hardship. I guess I need somebody to teach me how to be more in tune for those opportunities.

  4. Kristi Leighton on March 15, 2017 at 15:21

    In my church I will be volunteering with the Food Pantry program we operate on Thursdays starting in May. Up til now it has only been in operation on Friday mornings, when I am at work. I am eager to help in this ministry because I feel compassionate about helping those in need. I have a long history of volunteering in my local town and am a learning support teacher in my career. I’m very good at helping others but AWFUL at asking for help myself. This causes me frustration because I don’t want to appear “weak” or needing assistance. I need to work on this much more diligently. I think it comes from having a VERY independent mother who is used to doing everything by herself since she is a widow. I admire her strength in that regard and seek to imitate that on a subconscious level. However, I do know in my conscious mind that there is nothing wrong with asking for help and I need to practice this!!

  5. Fay Jones on March 15, 2017 at 15:10

    In addition to being a catechist for Baptism and Confirmation at my church, I also teach a monthly class on the Episcopal Church, which we call Episcopal 101 (E101). These 45 minute sessions focus on different aspects of the Church and our belief and faith, such as the history of the Anglican/Episcopal Church, the Book of Common Prayer, the seasons of the church year, the Creeds, etc. The questions asked by newcomers to this branch of Christianity, as well as “old” Episcopalians, are a continual encouragement to me to learn more, to understand more deeply, and to investigate my own faith. The best part may be when I can answer the question “So it’s okay to ask questions?” with a resounding “Yes!”

  6. Lisa on March 15, 2017 at 15:00

    I recently completed training for the first level of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and have been assisting the main catechist with the children’s Sunday morning lessons. I was helped to a greater understanding of the ties between Scripture and our liturgy, as well as being more aware of the similarities and differences between our liturgy and the Roman Catholic liturgy. From our main catechist, I am learning much about pacing and acceptance when working with young children. The children’s trust in a loving and nurturing God helps strengthen my trust. The actual amount of help I provide seems small in comparison to what I receive.

  7. Karen on March 15, 2017 at 13:18

    We have several occasions each week and in addition another scheduled selected timeframe when we, at my church, meet for a bible study or spiritual direction. At each of these occasions I am helped by others’ views of the bible and of life and I, in turn, help those other attendees. In addition my church participates in an ecumenical environment in providing sleeping quarters on a rotating basis to families with children who are homeless. All of these occurrences are events of spiritual community and very uplifting.

    • Stan on March 15, 2017 at 22:21

      It’s amazing how much hosting homeless families can teach us about humanity. And gaining their friendship, and their trust in you, teaches us about Love. Especially when the kids look up into your eyes with a great big grin on their faces. It is very powerful, and it works both ways.

  8. Bryan Cook on March 15, 2017 at 12:50

    I guess that it is Christian values rather than the religion of Christianity which I am receptive to and try to share in my daily life. My marriage is a sacred vow which can only be kept by sharing honesty, love, patience, joy and sorrow with my partner.
    Bringing up my children was and is an ongoing process of open communication, love, teaching and nurturing, setting boundaries and leading by example….so that whatever paths they take, they are grounded by a strong code of morals.
    There is joy in helping a neighbour though the process of losing a loved one by simple acts such as digging out a snow-filled driveways and putting out garbage.
    I have received enormous support of many people in my recovery….sharing is a primary tenet of AA.
    The list goes on……but I should heed Brother John’s admonition to not become complacent…I will stop and reconsider my initial reaction of being too tired or busy to bother when I am asked for help in the future; and I will listen more carefully to what my aging body is telling me and my partner is constantly reinforcing. I have a more restricted ability to help others if I myself am sick in body or mind.

  9. Pam on March 15, 2017 at 12:01

    It is a huge blessing to me that I am the head of adult formation in my parish. That means I, with the help of a small group of others, offer a variety of programs throughout the year for adults in our parish–forums, small groups, movies and discussions, and ongoing Bible studies. I have discovered that this ministry is one of mutuality–as I feel inspired to promote certain programs, I myself learn from the planning and doing. Through the programs we sponsor, I hope to nurture a closer relationship with God among those who participate, and at the same time my relationship with God is also nurtured. One small example is a Gospel study group I facilitate on Sunday morning. I am incredibly enriched by the preparation I do for it and by the discussion that ensues, and the people who join in week after week also find their lives enriches by participating. The bottom line is that in helping form others, I myself am being formed. It’s amazing.

    • Stan on March 15, 2017 at 22:14

      Small groups of people discussing God and God’s purposes for us. Somewhat unstructured, but perhaps guided. The masters teach the students, who, in turn, teach the masters. Question and answer. Give and take. Open minds, open souls, receptive to The Spirit, understanding, and and growth. This is what Church is supposed to be.

  10. John on March 15, 2017 at 10:14

    A colleague, now dear friend has inspired and taught me as the most other-oriented person I have known. She is brilliant, devoted and humble in her mission to address unmet medical needs across the globe. I do my best to be a supportive voice and follow her example of helping others.

  11. Kathy on March 15, 2017 at 05:21

    I would hope that I’m helping to form others when participating in an Outreach effort through my church. However there have been those times when the recipients have helped to form me as well. I remember standing outside in the cold & dark evening with a line of people from various churches to hand out meals, clorhing, blankets and grooming kits to the homeless when one homeless man said, “Thank you. You could be in the warmth & comfort of your home right now but you chose to be here”. That one comment FED us with renewed energy and encouraged us to grow.

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