What kind of Christian do you want to be?
Come and Be
Second Sunday after Epiphany Year A
The Rev. Deacon Lisa Kirby Jan. 19, 2020
Last week’s Gospel recounting Jesus Baptism and this week’s lesson about what happened right afterwards, are familiar and chocked full of exciting news.
Through slavery and all their trials, the Jews had been looking for the Messiah. There were a bunch of what I call baby Messiah’s running around claiming to be the one. But John says “This is the one on whom the Spirit descends and who will Baptize, not with water but with the Holy Spirit! Here is the Lamb of God.”
This is a revelation that turns the whole world upside down. What the Jews have waited for generations upon generations has arrived in the form of a simple dark-skinned unassuming son of a carpenter. He is the one who will save the Jews and then the whole world.
Two of John’s disciples were with John in the streets and heard these things and followed Jesus and asked, “where are you staying”. “Come and see”. They stay with him and one of them, Andrew goes and finds his brother Simon and says, “come with me and follow Jesus.” In order to do this, they dropped their nets, abandoned the family fishing business and followed the one who would make them fishers of men.
I give Cortney credit for the understanding that when fisherman cast their nets, the nets take in all the fish! You might be hoping to catch trout, but your net catches everything in its path.
If you are a fisher of men, and women and children when you cast your net you bring them all in. You bring in all races, all nationalities, all faiths, all genders. ALL means All.
And what about these particular fishermen?
Jesus turns to Simon and says, from this day on you shall be called Cephas, which is translated Peter.
And who is Peter? Peter is everyman, who stumbles and bumbles and puts his foot in his mouth with regularity. Despite being one of Jesus first and most faithful, he denies Jesus at the time of the crucifixion. And yet Jesus names him to be the rock upon which the church is to be built.
There’s hope for us all. Are we called to be part of what holds up his church? We may not be big rocks, but we can be little pebbles and sand that fit in between the big rocks to give strength to the foundation and keep the rocks from shifting.
Come and See Jesus said. What do we see? Do we see a Jesus who hangs out with the rich and powerful? No, he hangs out with the poor, the sick, the ones oozing with sores, the outcasts.
Come and see but more importantly Come and Be. We are called to mimic the actions of Jesus.
There are a bunch of “so called Christians” out there who think it’s okay to discriminate against God’s children, to withhold basic necessities from people who need them most, who think it’s okay for 45,000 people in a wealthy nation to die annually from lack of access to health care others from lack of clean water.
There’s some organization that wants you to send money to promote “prosperity. Where’s the one promoting “generosity”. For if we are generous the needy will prosper at least to the point of having their basic human needs met.
If we are to come and be, we are to be giving and forgiving, accepting, and loving. We are to be helping others, not condemning them for things beyond their control.
Paul posted a quotation the other day and I really like it “We should try to live such a way if the Gospels were lost, they could be re-written by looking at us.”
What is the Gospel I’m living? Look at people who loudly proclaim their faith but who do all the things Jesus would not do. What is their Gospel.
I read an article the other day called “The Kind of Christian of Refuse to Be.” The writer begins by affirming that he IS a Christian but
“I refuse to be a Christian who can’t find the beauty and truth in religious traditions other than my own.
I refuse to be a Christian devoid of the character of Jesus; his humility, his compassion, his smallness, his gentleness with people’s wounds, his attention to the poor, and the forgotten and the marginalized, his intolerance of religious hypocrisy, his clear expression of the love of God.
I refuse to be a Christian who can’t see the image of God in people of every color, every religious tradition, every sexual orientation.
Who is generous with damnation and stingy with Grace.”
He concludes “I am still a Christian—but I refuse to be one without Jesus.”
What sort of Christian will we be, and what sort will we refuse to be?
If we are Christians, if we are the living as followers of Jesus Christ, what sort of Gospel could be written based on our actions?