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, 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

Advent Readings: Sunday December 22

Readings: Isaiah 7:10-16 and Matthew 1:18-25

Reflections:
Although we are so familiar with the story of a virgin giving birth, re-enter the story as if you were hearing it for the first time. Ponder how God fulfills his promises in unexpected ways. What Mary and Joseph were hearing, receiving from divine messengers was humanly inconceivable! Mary and Joseph become examples for us of audacious faith in God, his word and their own experience of his word despite their limited understanding.

Reflection Questions:

  1. In what ways does the gospel narrative of Mary and Joseph’s reception of God’s word birth renewed faith in God in your own life?
  2. How might the reminder of Jesus’ coming to save us from our sins be received as a gift to you this holiday season?
  3. What places in your heart or life do you feel the need for freedom from habits of sin? Consider spending time in a practice of confession before God as you receive God’s gift of forgiveness.
  4. Are there places in your life where you feel lonely, abandoned or disappointed? Hear again the name of Jesus: Immanuel, God with us. Take his promise and presence to heart.

– Elizabeth Khorey and Michelle Sudduth