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​

Advent Readings: Sunday, November 30

Readings: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19, 1 Corinthians 1:3-9, Mark 13:24-37

Advent 1: Our focus for this week is: Hope. Final Christian hope has always been rooted in the Second Coming of Christ, at which time he will put the world back in its rightful state—no more unrelenting pain, desperate injustices or bitter crying. Because of the first coming of Jesus wherein he inaugurated God’s kingdom on earth, this reality is, in part and imperfectly, already among us.

Interaction with the kingdom already among us requires periodic inaction; pauses from trying to make it in our world so that we can be attentive to loving God and our neighbor. Without this attentiveness we lose hope. The world is too changeable and flimsy. God and his kingdom are sure and unshakable.

Brueggemann suggests that the rest of God is in stark contrast to the “gods of Egypt”. “The gods”, he writes, “are confiscatory; they demand endless production and authorize endless systems of production that are, in principle, insatiable.” The governance of God, on the other hand, as seen in the creation accounts of Genesis “is not marked by work​​aholism, by anxiety over the full-functioning of creation or by the notion that creation depends on endless work.”

· Do you feel trapped between what seems to be the competing claims of “the gods” verses God?

· Why? Do an honest inventory: what do you get out of endless productivity? What might you be missing in God’s gift of rest?

· What do you fear about rest, about disconnection from the world or about inactivity?

· Talk to God about what you are discovering about your life, activities, and habits of work. Creatively consider ways you might disengage through the week in order to experience God’s gift of rest.

Ordinary Time Readings: Sunday, November 23

Reading:  Genesis 50:4-21 and Luke 24:13-35 

1.      In our concluding chapter of Genesis there are two priorities of focus: the death and burial of a patriarch of faith; and the recognition of God’s sovereign will for humanity. As you read Genesis 50:4-21 draw some conclusions for yourself, for your life, for your community of faith, for the world you live in.

2.      Often there is a chasm between our theological knowledge of God and his kingdom plan on earth, and our felt experience and circumstantial difficulties. How might the story of Joseph’s life bridge the chasm for you? What challenges you? What encourages you? What fosters faith or renews hope? How might this story fuel your prayers?

3.      Read a well-worn story of discouraged and despairing disciples who return home after the crucifixion of their Lord, hopes dashed, from Luke 24:13-35. What do you discover from this story that resonates with you? How does help you in your journey with God at this specific stage of your life? In disparaging times or when facing a deep crisis of faith, what practices help your soul to trust the goodness of God despite the darkness of the day? Even though he might be disguised by your grief, how might you look today, for Jesus who walks beside you? Take a moment now to sit, breaking bread with Jesus through the vehicle of prayer. Let him warm your heart and give you renewed hope as you converse with him about all the happenings of your life.