How does one describe love for another person? A Scotsman would say, "Love is an outward inexpressability of an inward all overishness." A teenager might call love "an itching in your heart that you can't scratch." A bride-to-be will likely say that "love is a feeling that you feel when you feel that you're feeling a feeling you've never felt before." And if you ask the poet Carl Sandburg he will tell you that love is "a personal sweat." We could go on passing the microphone around allowing folk singers, politicians, teachers, and housewives to have their say. But there is not enough time.
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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.