Monday, January 19, 2015

On Being a Disciple

           It occurred to me as I read and re-read the scriptures this week that these passages are awfully personal. We have the story of Samuel’s call. He is learning to listen to God’s call in his life and at the same time, having to tell his beloved mentor a hard truth. Yet he does it, and the Scripture tells us that Samuel was known as a trustworthy prophet because of his truth telling.
            The Psalm places God in our very creations – it describes God knowing us all even as we formed in the womb.  God is as intimate as the tiny hairs on our arms. Then we get Paul reminding us that those same bodies that are so intimately known to God are truly temples of the Holy Spirit and we are NOT to fornicate. Got that? Wow – talk about personal.
            Then for the Gospel, we flip over to a reading from John. This is the call story of Philip and Nathanael. This is a story of Jesus picking out select people to “follow him.” Jesus is looking for disciples. To be a disciple of a Rabbi, one had to be willing to enter a vigorous transformation: learn a new way of being, learn a new set of values, learn a new set of skills, and maybe unlearn things they knew from before. They then had to be willing to carry on the Rabbi’s work later – teach and preach and carry the message far and wide. Jesus says to us all: “Follow Me” – are we disciples yet?
            It’s an interesting thought to ponder how we became disciples. How did you come to be in the church? Who invited you to Come and See? I’ll bet someone invited you specifically, or like me, maybe you had a person in your life that picked you up and took you to church. That special person made sure you understood what was happening in the church service, introduced you to how churches do stuff, maybe encouraged you to teach a VBS class. As you got involved, you started to see subtle ripples of how YOU made a difference to another person also wondering about how to be a disciple. For some people, our lives may be the only glimpse they get of Holy Scripture – we may be the closest to a disciple they will ever see.
            Come and See is a scary thing to say to others. When we invite people to Come and See, we are inviting them into a relationship – into a journey – with us. And we may not even know yet where we are headed. Come and See invites others into our songs, our worship, our way of doing church. It invites them to become disciples also and work alongside us. It might mean that they would tell us what God has in store for us, just as Samuel did with Eli. It might mean that they would name new truth and do things in new ways, or old ways.
            So how do we keep our Disciple status anyway? Daily Bible reading is a great start. There are whole bunches of ways to do that – there are websites, emails, radio programs, books, you name it – it’s there. Start a Rule of Life – be realistic. Start with reading the Bible 15 minutes a day and then sitting quietly and listening to God for 15 minutes a day. That is a Rule of Life. If 15 minutes is too long, start with 5 or 3. The point is to start. Because here’s the truth, if you are not studying the Bible and grounding yourself in God’s Word, you may never get the courage to invite someone else to Come and See. Being a Disciple is simple – living it out is hard. We need each other as companions on that journey. We also need others. Who will you invite?

Audio of this sermon can be found on the sidebar Podbean player. It is always interesting to me to see what I write vs what I say. 

1 comment:

  1. I remember, too, the folks who welcomed me when I was visiting a church. Who followed up and did not let me get lost. Intentional hospitality is crucial to bringing and retaining folks. Those welcomers are numbered among my personal saints. Eleanor Burns! Flo Lowrey!


Please be graceful with me and others!