November 24, 2009

Encouraging Words 11/25/09-"With No Thought to the Future"

From Rev. Vera I. Bourne at

One of the most exciting stories in the New Testament is the calling of the John and James from their occupation as fisherman. Here were two brawny men, used to the rigors of fishing, busily tending their father's nets. Yet, at the command of a total stranger, they left their work, and, ignoring their duty to their father, followed Jesus. They left all that represented security and home life for what? What was so compelling about this stranger that made the two Zebedee brothers walk away from their livelihood? Not only did they leave their families and their work but they also invited other fishermen to do the same.

But it was not just fishermen who gave up their security to follow Jesus. Zacchaeus, though small of stature demonstrated a giant faith as he left his work as a tax collector to follow Jesus. Having made reparation to those he had cheated and amply provided for those who were poor, he was free to exchange physical security for spiritual certainty. Mary from Magdala, healed by Jesus, became the woman who appears to have been responsible for organising food and shelter for her beloved Master during the time he was travelling and preaching. In fact, those who heard him were torn between continuing the day-by-day business of living and satisfying the spiritual hunger Jesus had awakened in their souls. Those who could trust God to care for them just as God cared for the lilies of the field and the birds of the air; chose Jesus.

Throughout history countless other men and women have left family and friends and the security of home and occupation to follow Jesus. These Christians are those who have moved beyond the God of Deuteronomy and Leviticus - the God of the Law who demands punishment for all the mistakes we make in our lives. They have moved beyond the God who is the Absolute Other - the Holy Priest - who cannot bear to associate with sinners - who can acknowledge us only when we have become pure through sacrificial blood. They have encountered Yahweh, the God who Jesus called Abba. This is the God who waits for us to return and then welcomes us as did the father of the Prodigal son, with abundant blessings. This is the same God who knows our fears, who has witnessed our pain, who stands with us when everything we know and love has turned to ashes.

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