Monday, 19 September 2011

Follow me

Well my holiday journey is over (more on that later) but our reflections from Luke 9 are not! 

We soon come to the next encounter Jesus has with another on the road.
This time Jesus initiates the conversation.
'Follow me', he says to the man.

'Let me go and bury my father.'

'Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.'

Jesus is always surprising.  How could he say such a thing?  Aren’t people supposed to respect their mother and father?  We are reminded of the nature of the Kingdom of God in Luke, which redefines old boundaries and the nature of kinship, as Joel Green puts it.  There is an urgency about the kingdom of God which will not wait; and there is nothing that should preceed it in terms of  the commitment of the disciple.  Whether Jesus here is indicating that the spiritually dead should bury the physically dead, or referring to the delay between the initial burial and the later burial box interring the bones of the dead, the message is the same: Jesus has the authority to command a new obedience.  The conviction required to follow him demands absolute trust, and full commitment.

When I follow someone on Twitter, it really is a half-hearted commitment. I may pick up some of their tweets, or not; I may respond to one, but rarely. It's interesting to know what people are doing or thinking, but I can choose to tune them out entirely, if that suits me.

Following Jesus is, of course, a very different matter. It demands full attention to the details as we participate in the big picture. I select his tweets at my peril.

But, as a disciple, what I find difficult is the process of discernment. I will (I claim, I think) follow Jesus anywhere he wants me to go. Except that he seems very, very quiet at times when I need to hear most. Could it be that my own hard-heartedness has made me deaf? I will follow you anywhere! Anywhere? Jesus eyeballs me. Yes! Raised eyebrow. Maybe...except for...but not...please don't.  Maybe I need to listen a little closer.