Follow Me?

Hither ye behind me! Yep; that’s what Jesus said. Modern translations simply say, “Come follow me.” These words of Jesus were an imperative call to present and continuous action. One Greek Grammar says that Jesus was calling for long-term commitment; to habits suited to such a commitment; a commitment that would cultivate virtue leading to a certain lifestyle. Ignatius, working with this big kingdom idea, taught us to follow Jesus by finding God in all things. He and other spiritual masters knew that this meant we had to engage in practices of noticing, reflecting and discerning; learning to be steadily conscious of God, self and others.  Frank Laubach (Letters by a Modern Mystic), stands in this tradition. He writes that submission is the first and last duty of man; that we are learning to respond to God as a violin responds to the bow of the master.  He says this begins with listening, moves to surrender and finds it best fruit in a determined, resolved will to act with God. The question mark we’ve put at the end of Jesus’ imperative is both invitation and call to decisive action to take serious Jesus’ command to come follow me—and in so doing to find, in Laubach’s words, that every day is tingling with the joy of glorious discovery.

– Todd Hunter​

Epiphany Readings: Sunday, January 12

Readings: Isaiah 42:1-9 and Matthew 3:13-17

Reflection Questions:

Mary Oliver, an American poet and Pulitzer Prize winner captures the heart-beat of the season of Epiphany as she simply writes:

PAY ATTENTION
BE ASTONISHED
TELL ABOUT IT

Epiphany marks the third sequential season that celebrates the great and true Light that has come into the world. The season is characterized from the Scriptural account as a time to witness what God reveals in his Son, Jesus. In other words, the season helps us: to See Jesus, to discover him in unlikely places and to wonder about what God is up to as he builds his kingdom on earth through Jesus. It’s also a season that emphasizes witness in the sense of telling others about Jesus. Epiphany is what some might say is the “aha” moments of our lives when we are aware that heaven and earth meet in sacred an uncanny ways. As you reflect on the seasonal readings for Epiphany, take moments to SEE Jesus. Discover creative ways to show and tell what you’ve come to experience in Christ.

  1. Center your attention in God as you read Isaiah 42:1-9. Allow the depiction of God’s Servant and his mission stimulate your imagination. What one facet of God’s Servant or his mission resonates most deeply within you? How might you become more attentive to seeing Jesus in your ordinary life as he is portrayed in these Scripture verses?
  2. Now, immerse yourself in the story of Jesus’ baptism. Imagine yourself as an onlooker in the narrative. What do you see? What do you hear? As a child of God, how might you identify with Jesus at his baptism as you consider your own Spirit-bathed life in God?
  3. What areas of your heart or life might you need a generative washing of the waters of life today? Take time now to speak honestly to God about these things. Ask for the Spirit to come and wash you in the newness of life.

– Elizabeth Khorey

Christmastide Readings: Sunday, January 5

Readings: Jeremiah 31:7-14 and John 1:1-13

Reflection Questions:

A favored tradition at Christmas time is the decoration of homes with bright colored lights. I live in a neighborhood where Christmas lights are a big deal; even boats are ornately adorned with lights and the Newport Beach Harbor puts on a parade of lights with fireworks! But the spectacular ornamentation of homes and harbor lights is really only enchanting at night! John’s gospel tells us that the True Light has come into the world giving light to everyone and the darkness cannot conquer it. This Light, namely Jesus, is a gift to us in darkness; John doesn’t say the darkness is eradicated…at least not yet!

  1. As you continue to celebrate Christmas how might you embrace the truth: the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it, as a gift and allow it to illumine dark areas of your life?
  2. By virtue of The Light that dwells within us, we have a vocation to bring light into the world, to be the light of the world (see Matt.5:14-16). How might you become a luminaire of God’s love to others who still sit or walk in darkness?
  3. Where are you experiencing the oppression of darkness (maybe in doubt, distress or depression)? Prayer is said to be like a light leading us to God. Take moments now to ask God for the light of his wisdom, love, aid, and his consolation in your dark hour.

Who out there fears GOD, actually listens to the voice of his servant?
For anyone out there who doesn’t know where you’re going,
anyone groping in the dark, Here’s what: Trust in GOD.
Lean on your God!
Isaiah 50:10 (The Message)