Follow me and I will make you fish for people…Matthew 4:19
Yesterday we looked together at the call of the first disciples according to the gospel of Matthew. It is a strikingly simple account and yet full of important details. What quickly becomes clear is that Jesus’ call to those who would follow him is to be willing to give every single thing in our lives to serve humanity and the world which he came to save. That includes our jobs, our status, our families, our lives.
Most of us are not asked to move away from our families to follow Jesus, but there are times when all of us feel a sense of discomfort with something our family has asked us to do. For example, there are times when we see something wrong with our world and our family asks us to remain silent and passive, rather than to do what we know is right.
My favorite creed in our Book of Confessions is the Theological Declaration of Barmen. It was written in Germany in the 1930s by pastors and teachers who consciously chose to speak out against the rise of the Third Reich and its infamous leader. They were speaking out not only against their government, but also against all of the churches who were actively supporting the regime. And some of them were writing their own death warrants as they signed the document that is now an important part of our history.
Unfortunately, the world has not changed so drastically from the time of Jesus. One key place where it has remained the same is that there is still evil at work in our world. There are still those who intentionally chose ignorance or power over caring for other humans. There are still many of us who have been asked to remain silent as others are dehumanized.
I have not lived as long as some, but in my nearly four decades on this earth, I have seen countless groups called things that make them easier to forget, demonize, and even kill. We must never forget that Auschwitz was less than a century ago. The Civil Rights Movement was only fifty years ago.
Even now we all must make a conscious choice: who will we follow? Jesus – the radical prophet who stood up to all who would cause harm and promulgate injustice? Or someone else?
As J.K. Rowling once wrote, there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.
It is Jesus who is asking. His call is not off in the distant future, but to each of us this day. So the only question now is, what will be our answer?
Blessings, Pastor Janie