Date: January 21, 2018 ()

Bible Text: Mark 1:14 - 20, 1 Corinthians 7:29 - 31, Psalm 62:5 - 12 |


Sometimes I think we forget that being saved by Jesus, and called to follow Jesus, means that you and I have others around to save you on a daily basis. To remind you of who you are and who you are called to be. To see you and appreciate you and celebrate you. To tell you how far you have come and where God still needs you to go. To come alongside you so that you realize you are not alone. When Jesus calls the disciples in the gospel of Mark, notice what’s absent—there is no individualism, no being left on your own, no pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. No, “You can handle this, get a grip. I am certain that Jesus wouldn’t say things like this: “Follow me and good luck with that.” But, Jesus says, rather, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people” That is, follow me and more followers are to come—follow me and you will never be alone: while it is good to be alone sometimes, but in the deepest sense, you will never be alone to go it by yourself: you are understood and not left out there to fend for yourself… Notice, Jesus calls them together, not separately. Andrew and Simon. Then, James and John. Discipleship is not an autonomous profession. God knows. Jesus knows that we cannot do discipleship on our own. We cannot do life on our own. We cannot live into our vocations, into our truth, on our own. We cannot follow Jesus on our own. We cannot preach on our own. We need each other…

We need advocates and mentors. We need peers and colleagues. We need friends and neighbors. We need community and camaraderie. We need others to take risks, knowing that we will take the next ones, and visa versa. We need to tell our stories so that others can tell theirs. And so, ‘follow me’ is much more than mere following, it is believing that you follow a God dedicated to discipleship that depends on dependability. It is believing that you follow a God who cannot NOT invest in a relationship with you and lead and guide you to nurture, encourage and empower your relationships with others, first by allowing yourself to be nurtured, encouraged, empowered and rejuvenated through self-care and allowing the Holy Spirit to restore your energy, your motivation and your joy… It is believing that our God who saved us through Jesus Christ’s enormous sacrifice, who claimed us in Holy Baptism, the God who has called you into your vocation, the God who is helping you to learn and grow and discover who God has called you to be, provides so very many other people to accompany each of us in our calling along the way… Do you see them? Who are your Andrews and Simons? Who are your Mary Magdalenes and the Marys, the mothers of James and Salomes? Follow me, says Jesus. Others can and you can because there are others there with you. You are not alone in this…That, dear friends is the Gospel, the Good News of this text… Amen.