Sunday, January 24th, 2021, Epiphany III, Follow Jonah 3:1-5, 10, Psalm 62: 6-14, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, Mark 1:14-20
It seems that the phrase which sticks in people’s mind is the part; I will make you fish for people, in whatever translation they remember. But is preceded by follow me. And last we heard Jesus saying to Philip, follow me as well.
So why are we rushing to the second part? Is it the one which makes us uncomfortable as Anglicans about the concept of evangelism and that is what we want to focus on, or do we think the follow part is easy, and we understand it and perhaps take it for granted?
But what does it mean to follow? It is perhaps thought of as being a follower of in this case, Jesus. We may think of it as a noun, and a description of who we are a believer in Jesus the Christ. We may be forgetting it is a verb, which is both literal and figurative.
This is about movement from one place to another. It is about leaving stuff behind and taking on new stuff. This is the journey of faith.
I remember at theology school a professor who was also a Presbyterian Minister saying in a sermon that he could not call himself a Christian because he had not arrived at the point of understanding and living it all. This made me think that to call ourselves Christian is then to feel like we have arrived and have nothing further to learn or question.
But that may be the lead into the second part and why we have discomfort with evangelism. It often feels like the one person telling the other the answers, thus coming across as being in a superior position, when to connect the two parts together means let us together strive to follow Jesus and see where he leads us, and is therefore more about asking questions together than one answering for the other.
I remember in Business School doing case studies where you solve the problem in the case, and writing it up always began with the question to be solved, the problem identified. In other words asking the question you can show the answer for. But to truly follow Jesus is to ask questions we don’t know the answer to, and walk together in faith supporting one another, and seeking the answers together.
For certainly, this time we are in is giving us far more questions than answers. This calls us then to be more deliberate in our support of one another through this time even though it is more difficult to do so. And our journey of faith together continues through this time and beyond.