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​

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)

Christmastide Readings: Sunday, December 29

Readings: Isaiah 63:7-9 and Matthew 2:13-23

Reflection Questions:

  1. After the joy-filled celebration of Christ’s arrival on the scene of human history, (Christmas) we are immediately thrust into the drama of the holy family’s flight from Israel to Egypt due to threat of death and destruction. The journey was riddled with uncertainty and perplexity, and yet divinely guided by the Word of God. In what areas of your own journey are you faced with uncertainty and perplexity, yet invited to trust and rely on God?
  2. Considering your own journey, the winding road of future unknowns and needs for adaptability and patient trust, how might Isaiah’s practice of recounting the steadfast love of the Lord over the course of your life aid you as you journey onward?
  3. Our Christmas story recounts and freshly imprints on our imaginations the promise of Immanuel: God with us. Now, as we face the New Year we are invited to trust the Gift given and received. How might you take courage in facing your new year as you remember that Jesus faced real human struggles of survival, displacement, and threats to his security, yet journeyed trusting the One who was with him? Take moments to pray, asking God to preserve your path, to give faith for the journey ahead, to carry you all the days of your life – and all for his love’s sake.

– Elizabeth Khorey