This Sunday, we will hear the familiar story of Jesus' call to his first disciples, Simon, Andrew, James, and John, our spiritual ancestors.
As a teenager, my well-intentioned religion teacher - a bastion of the Moral Rearmament movement - took care to explain to us that Jesus probably knew Simon and Andrew, James and John, before that day at the lake. It was hard to imagine, she said, that they would have abandoned their lives for a total stranger. Therefore, she thought, they must have known him prior to that event. I still recall the sense of disappointment and smallness of purpose that crept into my sense of the gospel. A gospel rationalized to fit the human version of the kingdom of God, the human version of power, and the human version of faithfulness. A world where not even the incarnate love of God could be allowed to make a difference.
In fact, Jesus' call to follow is not a human invitation. It is a call to surrender in love because we are loved. It is a call to turn our back on the past and to face a future where our first loyalty is to God. That was the discovery that led those men from the rational safety of the life of practical fishermen into the mystery of relationship with God. They, like men and women before and after, were on the lookout for God’s action, for God’s “critical moment” in history. Not
- ordinary time - but
- God’s decisive time.
Here at St. Paul’s we are being called to follow just as surely as those who were called two thousand years ago. Will we choose the rational safety of known and familiar paths or will we step out to pursue the love that loves us more than life itself?
The Rev. Susan N. Eaves