Year B Epiphany 2 John 1 2012
Something Good Can Come from Nazareth
I like the story of the young woman who wanted to go to college, but her heart sank when she read the question on the application blank that asked, "Are you a leader?" Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst. To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: "Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms reveals that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders. We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower."
In our text for this morning, Phillip comes to Nathanael and proclaims that he has found the one whom Moses wrote about. He is Jesus of Nazareth. While we do not know what expression Nathanael had on his face when he responded, I think that it is safe to say that his response revealed a cynical sneer. "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Answered Phillip: "Come and see."
You see, the church has the same problem. The church is full of those sure of themselves. We may even get to the point where we believe very little that we are told. We sit back under the fig tree with the sneer of a Nathanael and we ask, "Can anything good come from [Name your Church], Can anything good come from our Youth Group; can anything good come from [name a program of the church]." People come in and out the doors of this church with a critical eye. Skepticism is not a modern virtue. Doubting Thomases have been around since the dawn of time. By nature we don't want to be led. We want to lead. But, in the church, it is imperative that we have followers. In fact it is imperative for all of us to be followers.
Nathanael learned this. He was skeptical at first but he was transformed. He became a follower because Phillip invited him.
Let me ask you: What was it that Phillip saw in Christ that moved him to follow, that stirred him so to invite his friend Nathanael. Come and see what? What did Phillip see in Jesus of Nazareth? I want to attempt to answer that question this morning. Come and see what?
- Come and see souls redeemed.
- Come and see lives transformed.
- Come and see the heavens opened.
It's a New Year: Take 7 Steps Forward
How many parents have blessed the invention of the "Swing'N'Sway?" Can I get a witness?!
There are actually two versions of this battery operated baby care gizmo. For newborns there is a Swing'N'Sway bassinet that gently rocks from side-to-side and back-to-front to simulate the infant being held and walked and rocked. This enables new Moms and Dads to catch some desperately needed shut-eye. For babies old enough to sit up there is a Swing'N'Sway rocker — an infant seat secured in a kind of swing-set stand that allows the child to happily rock back and forth while parents keep an eye out, but keeps their hands free to accomplish other tasks.
Both these "Swing'N'Sway gadgets satisfy the baby by giving the child the illusion that they are moving forward or being taken for a walk when in reality they are staying safely in one place.
By the time our children can walk on their own, these devices are done for. The tiniest, shakiest, clumsiest first "baby steps" are far more exciting to toddlers than any stationary "pretend" movement offered by a Swing'N'Sway. Our very first steps, no matter how halting and weak, are not only the ones most anticipated, most praised, most celebrated by our parents. They give us our first taste of self-reliance. Learn to take those first baby steps and, baby, you're on your way to . . . wherever you want to go. The time for swinging and swaying in one spot is over.
When Jesus started his public ministry it was from the outset an "on-the-road" show. Jesus' first invitation to his first disciples was "Follow me" or "Come and see." Notice, it was not "sit down and listen," or "kneel and pray." It was an invitation to movement, motion, and mission...