- Frederick Buechner (adapted for worship)
When Jesus got word that John had been arrested, he returned to Galilee. He moved from his hometown, Nazareth, to the lakeside village Capernaum, nestled at the base of the Zebulun and Naphtali hills. This move completed Isaiah’s sermon: Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, road to the sea, over Jordan, Galilee, crossroads for the nations. People sitting out their lives in the dark saw a huge light; Sitting in that dark, dark country of death, they watched the sun come up. This Isaiah-prophesied sermon came to life in Galilee the moment Jesus started preaching. He picked up where John left off: “Change your life. God’s kingdom is here.” Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.
- Matthew 4.12-20 (The Message)
Epiphany is manifestation… a making clear, or showing forth. Epiphany is that eureka experience when one “gets it”; epiphany is that moment when purpose and meaning become clear. Epiphany is manifestation, and we celebrate the season of Epiphany each year because it’s not enough that Christ was incarnate in Jesus; his life means nothing to us until we grasp what it means for faith. For this reason, we have examined events in the life of Jesus during Epiphany to gain insight into their significance for faith. Faith whispers that there is a vision of faith in the life of Jesus, a vision we need to inspire and empower our faith journey, a vision that will guide us on the way.
The calling of disciples, as Laura noted last week, represents by extension an invitation to us to follow Jesus on the way. This week, we will continue to examine this “following,” and clarify something of its nature as a journey of faith. To read Matthew, it seems simple and straightforward. Jesus invites, the disciples respond, and they immediately take up their journey. As Matthew puts it, “They (the disciples) didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed. Look closer, however, and one will see that it’s not quite so simple; questions remain unanswered as we begin the walk, and need to be clarified along the way. Do we follow alone? Do we choose our own path? Are we expected to equip the journey with our own resources, and depend on our own courage and wisdom?
I think you will agree these are significant questions. And Frederick Buechner provides a response in the worship heading cited above. In fact we are not asked to follow on our own, pulling ourselves up by our own spiritual boot straps; rather, God is with us on the way, and will nurture, nourish, and guide our journey. This is big… we are never alone; God wants to inspire in us a vision, and work in, through, and with us on the way of faith. Join us in worship on Sunday as we seek to discern God’s vision for our ministry here at OPCC, and walk together – one step farther – on the way.