Following

It’s encouraging me to read the account of Jesus. I love his stories, the way he treats people that others ignore, and the things he does to give us a better picture of God. Even people who don’t like Christians, Christianity, or the church often admit there’s something about Jesus that is appealing. This morning I think I most appreciate his simple invitation: “Follow me.”

When I flip through the pages of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John I don’t find him giving long to-do lists to the people he encounters. And I still haven’t found one incident where he says, “Repeat this prayer after me,” to someone hoping to connect with God. What I do find time and time again is, “Follow me.” For those who accepted that invitation, their path weaved in and out of people’s lives and situations, they received cheers and jeers, they were questioned and affirmed, and they learned the art of living a life intermingled with divine.

The very nature of being a pilgrim is change, movement and progress. A life of following is dynamic not static. That means transition will always be part of life. I’m reminding myself this morning that it’s a necessary part of following Christ. I’m reminding myself that it’s good not to know all the twists and turns that lay ahead. I’m reminding myself that faith has always been an adventure. (By the way, adventure literally means “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity”)

I don’t want to leave anyone thinking that stepping out into the unknown is easy. It never is. But we will never know the fullness of following if we don’t.

A friend stopped by the coffee shop yesterday and gave me the prayer Mother Teresa prayed for her Sisters of Charity as they leave to serve:

Dear Lord, the Great Healer, I kneel before You, since every perfect gift must come from you. I pray, give skill to my hands, clear vision to my mind, kindness and meekness to my heart. Give me singleness of purpose, strength to lift up a part of the burden of my suffering fellow men, and a true realization of the privilege that is mine. Take from my heart all guile and worldliness that with the simple faith of a child, I may rely on You. Amen.

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