This is the first of what I plan to be a weekly message to the members of St. Christopher’s. My goal is to reflect on the gospel message of the previous day with the attention on our call to follow Jesus. This first submission, however, is inspired by the story of Matthew, the tax-collector-turned-apostle, written on this, the feast day of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. He was an abhorrent tax-collector, yet Jesus sought him out and called Matthew to follow him. Matthew, a most unexpected character is called to follow Jesus. I believe the conversation around following Jesus and committing our life to him is lacking in many faith communities. Sure, we worship and attend various social activities in our churches, but how much of this work is focused and dedicated to serving Jesus? As of the morning that I wrote this, I read this devotional from the Forward: Day by Day devotional booklet, by the Rev. Jonathan Melton:
“My only job, the only thing I ought to be about, is proclaiming the glory and joy of the holy and undivided Trinity. It is very easy to forget this most important fact about my vocation. No sooner do I pray to be a person of peace than I am swearing at the copier or lamenting spotty wireless [phone connections] – as if the astonishing and animating Trinity depends in any real way upon those amenities.”
It can be difficult to keep Christ at our center – or even “the glory and joy of the holy and undivided Trinity” – in the midst of our busy lives. We have bills to pay, children and grandchildren to give time to, our health to maintain, difficult people with whom we work, the list goes on. Our lives are distracted. Our cares are many. But God is present. Christ is present. And God wants to be, and joyfully desires to be, in these various and mundane occurrences in our daily lives. Jesus is calling us to follow him. Like Matthew, Jesus calls us despite our own feelings of treachery, brokenness, inadequacy, or distance from God.
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. – Matthew 9:9
Get up and follow Jesus.