Personal Reflections For Pastors On The Lectionary Readings
John 1:(1-9) 10-18
The child in me still loves opening gifts at Christmas. One of my favorite experiences while opening gifts is what I call "The Shocker!" You know it is a "shocker" when the one opening the gift stops and gasps in surprise as they see what is in the package! Then when they pull it out of its wrapping, everyone gasps along with them, exclaiming, "That is beautiful! That is awesome!" Turning their attention to the one who gave it, they ask, "Where did you get it? That must have cost a fortune!" or "How did you make it?" (depending on the gift).
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As Jesus calls his disciples it seems like he has a criterion for the people with which he wants to surround himself. It may not always be obvious in the Biblical account, but Jesus is careful to choose people who are really committed to his message. With their help, Jesus will be able to do more and spread the word about God farther.
There are always difficulties in Christian ministry, at whichever level you're involved in it, from church cleaner to the Archbishop of Canterbury. There's always someone who'll find fault, and if like the Archbishop, you're a subject of media interest, then I should imagine Christian ministry can be very difficult indeed and perhaps something of a burden.
In today's Gospel text, Jesus calls for repentance, expects Peter and Andrew to drop their nets and follow him, and calls James and John to leave their Father Zebedee in the boat without so much as a "So long, see you later."
My task today is to issue that same call to repentance, that same call to radical obedience and decisive discipleship. For that call is urgent and cries out to be issued in all of its majesty and might.