5 Pentecost (Proper 8) Year C
“And as they were going along the road, someone said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’” Luke 9:57
“Go after, pursue, chase, tag along, go behind.” To agree to follow is to allow another to lead. To commit one’s self to following another is to let the life and example of that one be your guide. It is to step back from yourself, and your desire to be in charge, to be in the know, to be the one with the answers, and to trust in another to provide for your needs, to be your teacher, and to bring you into a way of being that is not of your own desire and your own creation, but of their desire and their hope and dream for your life.
To follow Christ is to allow the presence, leadership and teachings of Jesus to shape and direct your life, your choices and your way of being in this world. It is to pursue the hopes that Christ has for the safety and health of all of God’s children in this world. It is to challenge the status quo that allows extreme economic disparity to continue day in and day out. To follow Christ is to remember that he spent time with the undesirables that lived on the margins of society – the poor, the sick, the unclean, the outcast.
I will follow you wherever you go, one person proclaimed as Jesus and his entourage passed by, but did he really know what he was committing to? Was he really prepared to follow Jesus, whose face was set toward
I will follow you Lord, but can you assure me that I will be able to live my life the way that I want to?
No, that cannot be assured. From the passage we learn that to follow Jesus was to face rejection from people’s homes, like the disciples’ experience in
My guess is that not many people in this room have ever faced the question – where will I lay my head tonight? Where am I going to make my home? But maybe some of you have opened your doors to strangers, allowed people into your lives from whom you didn’t always know what to expect, and you learned something new from those experiences. To follow Christ is to open ourselves to the possibility of change, to allow ourselves to learn from unexpected places and unexpected people.
We open the doors of this church 4 times a year to the families of the Interfaith Hospitality Network, hosting parents and children who are struggling to remain together as a family through the hardship of homelessness. We open our doors and our hearts to them in hope and faith that they might know something of the security a home. In doing this we offer what we can in a way of support, and we hope that new life might arise where there was no hope before. We do so, not knowing how it will end, or if each family will succeed. But we offer what we can.
And in doing this we make ourselves vulnerable. We learn to be honest with ourselves about our own needs, and wants, and to open ourselves to the possibility that others may have needs that are greater than our wants. When IHN is present with us we commit to giving a part of ourselves to them. We do not know what we will receive, but more often than not, we are changed by the experience of having them here. We make ourselves vulnerable to change when we open our eyes to the fact that there are people in
I will follow you Lord, and I do so knowing that it will change me, and it will change the way that I live my life.
I will follow you Lord, but I can’t leave my home until my duties are done here. I must finish my work in the field. Then Lord, I can follow you.
There is always work to be done. There is always fun to be had. There is always family to be cared for. There are always things that are a natural part of our lives that can interrupt or distract us from our call to follow Christ. As Americans our lives are filled with endless possibilities of how to use our time, talent and treasure: weddings, birthdays, baptisms, funerals, sporting events, dinner parties, ski trips, beach trips, family reunions… To follow Christ is to recognize that at all times and in all places we are called to be disciples.
To follow Christ is to balance those times and places where we do the work we need to do, and to give ourselves the rest that we need to have while recognizing the needs of our community and how our gifts, talents, time and treasure might make a difference for someone in need.
Our Junior High Youth Missioners followed a call to leave their comfortable homes and surroundings, to join with youth from 7 Episcopal congregations from
As the work week progressed we asked the youth to consider why they had agreed say, “Here I am, Lord, send me,” to give of their time and join in the work. We asked them to share with one another where they saw Christ on the weekend, and how they might continue to do the work of ministry through the Holy Spirit. Again and again we heard young people say, I saw Christ in the people we helped, I saw Christ in the friendships that I made, I saw Christ in the work we did with our hands, I saw Christ in this community.
To follow Christ is to take ourselves out of our own lives and busy schedules, to step back and to see the needs of others, and how we might be able to have an impact.
I will follow you Lord, and the responsibilities of my daily life will not keep me from doing your work in the world as well.
I will follow you, but I must take care of my parents, for they are old, and when they die I must be here to bury them. And I must say goodbye to my friends one last time. Then Lord, then I will follow you.
One year ago, I left my family and friends, I left my home state, I left the school that I had attended for three years and the community that I was a part of there. I set my face toward
I discerned, I prayed, I contemplated, and I made the decision to come here, and you all invited me to come here as well. But the real reason that I made it here in the first place, and the reason that I am so glad to be with you here today, and gladly face the year and years to come, the real reason for this is the fact that I was called to be here. And even though it seemed like a shot into left field, I knew that it was a call that I needed to respond to. I was being called to follow Christ, to come into your midst and to become a part of this family. It does not mean that I am no longer connected to my family of origin, it does not mean that they matter less to me. But when my call came, I listened and I followed.
“Go after, pursue, chase, tag along, go behind.”
When we listen for and follow the call of Christ we are challenged, we are vulnerable, we have much to learn, and we learn that we have much to offer.
When we follow the call of Christ we may find ourselves in new and unexpected places, but we often find ourselves right in the place we were meant to be. Where is Christ calling you today? And are you ready and willing to say, “I will follow you, wherever you go”? Amen.
Delivered by The Rev. Mary Catherine Enockson
The Episcopal Church of Our Saviour, Rock Hill, SC July 1, 2007