I was struck this week by the image of Jesus calling Peter and Andrew to be disciples and follow Jesus. It was the focus of our Gospel reading last week, and although I chose to preach on Jonah, (Too many Jonah’s – not enough whales!), the picture of Jesus calling Peter and Andrew fishing came to mind. I wonder what they were talking about whilst they were with their Father on the boat just before they met Jesus. I think they were probably talking about the everyday things; what they were going to have for dinner, where the best place was to catch fish, and what they thought the future had to hold for them. I suspect that they planned to be fishermen all their lives, as probably had been their Father and generations of family members before them. I suspect they had no idea about how drastically their lives were about to change.
I reckon that Peter had no idea that he would be instrumental is starting a new Jewish movement that would be called ‘Christianity’ and eventually cover the globe. I suspect that had he known that when he saw Jesus on the beach he might have wanted to prepare himself a little more before dashing after Jesus into the unknown.
I know how he feels! Walking in faith, walking with God, is a great deal like stumbling into the dark, the foggy unknown. As much as we’d like to think that we know what tomorrow will bring, we don’t. “Time and Chance happen to us all”, as King David said. (Ecc 9:11)
Fortunately following Christ doesn’t mean that we have to know what tomorrow will bring, only that we never face it alone. Following Christ means following where the Spirit of Christ leads us and often that’s into unfamiliar territory. For me it was to seminary, to New York, then here to Hagerstown.
I remember talking to Troy Perry about the founding of MCC. I remember someone asked him “What was it like to be the one called to start an LGBT friendly Christian Church?” and Troy replied, “Oh, I don’t for one moment think I was the only one called to start an LGBT friendly church, I was just the first one to say ‘yes’”.
I wonder what it was like for Delores when she was called to be an evangelist? I wonder if she knew what she was getting herself into? I wonder what it was like for Nancy Wilson to be called to be the moderator of MCC, and even after many years in MCC whether she knew what she was getting herself into!
Even in our own church. Colleen, called to seminary and into ministry, along with Charlie, Elaine, Drew, Harry, and Harold, also called into ministry as Deacons. Those who God called to our Board, Prayer team, Steering Committee, Stewardship team, Choir, Praise band, and as volunteers in the various ministries of the church. It’s never quite what you think it’s going to be. It’s always more than you reckon on, and a source of personal growth. If we take our calling seriously, as a calling by the Holy Spirit, then it always draws us in closer to god, and reveals Christ in ways we never suspected.
Where is God calling you? You don’t know yet? That’s OK! The disciples didn’t know either. Our job is not to ‘know’ but follow the one who does. We just need to be willing to step out when we are called, ready or not. Faith is not about working out if we can see the future or not, faith is simply about recognizing Christ’s voice and saying ‘YES’ when we are called.
So I pray, when the call comes, that you have the faith to step out and simply say ‘Yes’, to whatever God calls you.