Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hearing the call of God

Readings for Sunday January 18, 2008...The 2nd Sunday after Epiphany include I Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20), Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18;I Corinthians 6:12-20; John 1:43-51
I find the story of Nathanael (or Bartholomew as he seems to be known elsewhere) in the first chapter of John to be strangely intriguing.
John is still setting up for us the thrust of his gospel
and thus having declared that this is the Word made Flesh, the Lamb of God, the Messiah
people are drawn into the circle of faith
Simon Peter and Andrew respond readily and quickly, Philip is not far behind
but not so easily convinced...his natural instinct is to be dismissive...he has perhaps (like us)
heard all this before.
Philip says to him...Why don’t you just come and check it out!
Because Nathanael does decide to adopt this open
he is able to hear Jesus.
Jesus speaks to him in a fairly low key sort of way….here is someone who calls a spade a spade….
and Nathanael, I think, likes being taken seriously
and finds this Jesus engaging,
and so follows.
A lesson for us
the two dimensions that I think we can well pay attention to are:
not taking the call of God for granted or just hoping it might go away (this is echoed in the Samuel story)
this is often the way we deal with our religious conviction
...let’s not take it terribly seriously…..
I suspect that this is the cause of great spiritual weakness in the church today
Nathanael’s stance (and indeed Samuel’s) is
give God the opportunity
and God will do what is necessary
....but we need to give God the opportunity.....

The second thing that we can note is that Philip is a source of encouragement to Nathanael (as Eli is to Samuel)
Without that comment...Come and See... or Go back and listen again...
would Nathanael or Samuel have taken the final step

Is there someone who we have to support in a similar way?
Can we ask God to show us that this week, and also to give us the faith and the courage to be quietly and gently supportive?

  • Are we prepared to look again at what God is seeking of us?
  • is there someone I need to encourage?
The Illustration is Open Voyage by Michel Rauscher

No comments: