Will You Come and Follow Me?
What is it about an invitation? Whether by mail, or email, or phone, or in person, it means someone's thought of you. Someone values you. They desire the pleasure of your company. How good is that? Unless it's a ruse, like the impersonal invitation of a local church that arrives in the mail, addressed to "The Occupants," saying you will be welcome at their Sunday service. Ya, whatever. An invitation has to be personal, or it's meaningless. But when it is personal, it's sort of thrilling.
This is how I imagine the disciples reacted to Jesus's invitation to follow him. Me? Really? Why me? But as the story goes, none of them even had to think about it. They dropped whatever they were doing, including fishermen brothers James and John, who left their father standing alone with his nets on the shore. Peter had a mother-in-law, so apparently he had a wife, someone he left behind when he followed Jesus. Either the call was too compelling, or the marriage hadn't been that great to begin with. Either way, the moment to decide was suddenly here and it was now.
They could barely have known what they were signing on for. Not the cross, that's for sure. And not being left to forge the foundations for a new faith community after Jesus's death. Jesus was inviting them to be his friends, his travelling companions, to witness his ministry and to learn from his teachings. They should have read the fine print. Each, with the exception of John, would die a martyr's death, and even John would die in exile. Jesus said, "Follow me," and that seemed to be enough. The future would unfold as it would.
If we were to invite a few others along, to join us on our own journey, who would they be? Trusted friends we've known forever? New friends we'd like to know better? Strangers we hardly know at all, but who've touched us or fascinated us in some deep way, making us wonder if there isn't already a bond? Who would be our community, our friends, to share the challenges and the delights of the Unknown Path?
I can't imagine there being many "rules" for this sort of thing. But trust would be a big one. And the ability to commit. A modicum of compassion, for when we're wounded, and the strength to question, for when we're wrong. Our travelling companions should also be invested in their own journey, not tagging along for the ride. And the ability to laugh, especially at themselves. Those would be some of mine.
Next Week: The House Group
Find me at "The Mystic Cave," a podcast for the seeker: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1577227.