At one point, my pastor, who had been asked to give the main address, got up to speak. I was not in his direct line of sight, but I was sitting on the floor not too far from his feet. As he gave a great talk on change, and discerning God's will, and letting Christ direct the paths of your life, I was struck that I probably looked like a little kid, sitting at my teacher's feet, soaking up his wisdom.
And then I remembered this line by St. Paul~
"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel..." ~Acts 22:3
At the feet of. An expression commonly used to describe the teaching style of the masters of the time. To be educated literally while sitting at the feet of the teacher, hanging on their every word.
I have heard discipleship described that way. You sit at the feet of the one you are the disciple of. You listen to their words, model their actions, look to them for guidance.
There are so many that I have had the privilege of sitting at their feet. Family, friends, teachers, the Saints, authors, pastors, missionaries. It makes me picture the Sermon of the Mount.
I have also heard discipleship defined as literally meaning "to be covered in the dust of." Meaning that as a disciple, you follow the person so closely that the dust raised up by their feet covers you before it can fall back to the ground. That is some serious closeness.
So this brings up some good questions to ponder. Who do I sit at the feet of? Who do I follow closely enough that I am covered in their dust? It also makes me wonder if I am the kind of person attracting people to a life of discipleship. Are the things that I say and do personifying Christ? Should others "sit at my feet" or "be covered in my dust"?
“It is part of your vocation to shout the Gospel from the rooftops, not by your words, but by your life.” ~Blessed Charles De Foucauld
Time for a gut-check. As Christians, we are always put in a position to be a witness to others. You cannot turn off that role with one group of people and on with another. Every word and action shows others what the Body of Christ looks like, and gives them an example to either emulate or avoid.
“The torch of our faith has been given to us not to delight our eyes but to enkindle the torches of our fellow men.” ~Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
So who can we look to to help us? I think that Mary had a good thing going. While Christ would have spent his first few years sitting on her lap, I like to think that in the 30 years that Mary and Jesus shared a home, Mary spent a whole lot of quality time learning from her Son. She would have heard his words. She would have witnessed his actions. She learned. She modeled. And she then taught, and still teaches us today.
"Do whatever he tells you..." ~John 2:5
That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it? A good disciple of Christ does whatever He wills for them, and encourages others to do the same. Sounds like a plan to me.
Here is a link to a youth group lesson highlighting Mary and discipleship: