Will we come? It’s not easy to come – it’s always much easier to stay put thank you very much – and I speak as one with packing boxes in my hall! The invitation to come is always an invitation to allow ourself to be disturbed. We humans really don’t like that; we are hard wired to prefer the familiar, the comfortable groove. We fear the unknown and we will make a million excuses why we shouldn’t move. But if we are going to be a disciple, - if we are going to follow – we have to move; we have to move physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. One person can do this – but in doing so they also contribute to the necessary corporate movement of communities, congregations and churches. And we have to keep on moving for as long as we are alive, because the only folk who don’t move are dead! – and even then the microbes are still moving…
Jesus continues to invite us to come; to explore our faith more deeply, to act upon that faith in the world with greater passion; to express that faith in new words, new songs, new liturgies, new paths of service. But we are not just to come – we are also to see. Here an already scary idea becomes truly terrifying. For to truly see Jesus is also to be seen by Jesus. As Pastor Steve Holmes has written, ‘Jesus is scary to follow, because I know in His gaze, I’m going to see more of myself than I want to. Before I fall in love with it, it will frighten me.” But something one person can do, is to press on through the fear, and be open to the falling in love.
For to see means to allow Christ to show us those parts of ourselves we would rather avoid – and I don’t so much mean the obviously unlovely or lesser; rather there is are the beautiful, the gifted and the visionary that we have chosen out of ignorance, laziness or fear to hide away. But Jesus is forever tugging at our sleeve – and inviting us to do the same for others – seeking to unlock our hidden potentialities, whether as individuals or communities – ‘come and see; look, you could be this; you could do that; dare to see; dare to give it a go!’
If we are attentive to the call to ‘come and see’, we will never lack for vision. But each of us needs to take responsibility for re-calling the rest of us to the possibilities – the constant transformative work of the Spirit at work in us and the whole creation. For if we answer the invitation to ‘see’ we will be constantly surprised by the new, and if different ways just like Nathanael, and Jacob before him, catch a glimpse of heaven opened, and the angels ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.
So, in the words of one of Jo and my favourite prayers:
What can one person do?
One person can listen for the word of God
And believe in the fire of the spirit within her
And set out to tell the truth to the people.
One person can believe that the Holy Spirit
Does pour out gifts,
And that those gifts can be used to change
One person can believe that the Church of Jesus Christ
Has the courage of its convictions;
That together we can burn with a spirit of love
That is so great
We can look the impossible in the face and say
by Penny Jones, for Sunday 17 January, 2020