Friday, February 27, 2009

Staying with Jesus

"So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent the day with him...Andrew, Simon Peter's brother was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. It was the tenth hour.The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and to tell him, 'We have found the Messiah!'" John 1:39-40

I have a magnet on my refrigerator that always makes my mother laugh when she sees it. It says, "I found Jesus. He was behind the sofa all this time." It's a silly thing really, but it points me to a deeper reality in my own life and the life of faithful people. It is relatively easy to find Jesus. To have a moment of wonder and transformation within a worship service or a retreat is fairly common. On the other hand, it is challenging for most of us to remain faithful. It is far too easy to be swayed by politics, to walk away from faithfulness when there is reward for us. It is hard to remain humble and forgiving. It is hard to put others first and love selflessly. It is hard to stay with Jesus, in those humble digs, in the places where we don't shine but give ourselves away for others. Staying with Jesus requires no rent but a hefty cost. We have to let go of our pride and self righteousness and our desire to control. With Jesus, we have to serve others, dwell in humble places and take no credit for hard work.

John's gospel tells the story of the calling of the first disciples. Andrew and another, who had been following John, wanted to see where Jesus was staying and to get to know him. Andrew saw for himself and then immediately went and got his brother. We know that they stayed with Jesus. We also know that it wasn't easy for them, and Peter even denied Jesus publicly. Fear overtook his constancy, the need for survival wiped away his faithfulness. They stayed with Jesus from these early moments to Gethsemane, to the cross and then resurrection. They wavered, were tempted and failed to be faithful regularly. And they stayed with Jesus.

Today, I want to make my work to stay with Jesus. It has been very tempting to walk away from being faithful in the face of betrayal and hardship. Living with the consequences of staying with Jesus, I ask for a new measure of forgiveness, a new measure of patience and forbearance. Staying with Jesus right now calls me to love those who have hurt me, tolet go of anger or the desire for retribution and instead enter deeper into prayer with Jesus.

I invite you this Lent to stay with Jesus. To abide in the ambiguity of the world and places where we serve. I invite us all to stay with Jesus, knowing there is more to the story than the suffering we might now be experiencing. I pray that we can all stay with Jesus for resurrection is surely coming to us all.

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