Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Anything can become a “god” to us - Anything we “worship” or put an excessive amount of time into.

“Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it.” - Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor from 161 to 180AD)

Gospel Text: (LK 9:57-62)
As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding
on their journey, someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Three stories begin in today’s Gospel reading—but we don’t know how they end! Each one features Jesus and a potential disciple. Let’s call them Volunteer One, Volunteer Two, and the Invitee.

Volunteer One enthusiastically pledges to follow Jesus “wherever you go” (Luke 9:57). Jesus invites him to examine his motives and to reconsider his offer. This isn’t going to be a rose-strewn path to worldly glory! Is Volunteer One ready for homelessness and rejection? For radical reliance on God rather than earthly security?

Volunteer Two starts off well by calling Jesus “Lord.” Then he spoils his offer with two telltale words: “but first …” (Luke 9:61). His request for a good-bye visit home seems innocent enough, but Jesus sees it for what it is: a conditional offer and a sign of divided loyalties. There is no looking back in the kingdom; no “but firsts”! This is something to remember when we’re tempted to put off prayer or a nudging from the Holy Spirit.

Sandwiched between this pair is the Invitee (Luke 9:59-60). He’s like Volunteer Two: willing to follow, but at a later date. Maybe even a much later date. The father he asks to go bury may be alive and well. Jewish burials took place on the day of death, so it’s unlikely that the Invitee would be out listening to Jesus on that very day. What he seems to mean is, “Let me stay home till whenever Dad dies. Then I’ll follow.” To which Jesus seems to answer him: Following me is the most important decision you could ever make. Don’t put it off. Don’t try to control the timing and circumstances. Just come—and come quickly!

Do I really buy into a Christocentric life style?

Internally, I need to ask myself if something or someone is taking me from following Christ’s message. Am I willing to give up whatever stands in the way of following Christ? If the truth be told, I have had diversions throughout my whole life. Do I or did I, as the saying goes, “put God first, others second, myself third?”

In a sense, we are the Invitee and the Volunteers, our stories still unfolding. Will we say yes and enter into the never-ending story of being loved and called by God? Which story speaks to you? Place yourself in it and then reflect.

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