The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” John 1:43-51
The weather has been so unrelentingly hot that the shade of a tree seems the only place to be. Trees can also be wonderful hiding places, away from the world, the noise and the intensity that surrounds us. It is very normal to want to hide when things get tough and normal to want to disbelieve there is really anything good to come out for. Whether we stay in to avoid the heat and the weather or for safety and comfort, we are likely to miss new possibilities if we stay hidden. And yet the lure of comfort and safety is always a snug, sure draw.
Jesus continues to call his disciples and has a special encounter with Philip and Nathanael. Philip follows right away but Nathanael is doubtful of the possibilities of something good and someone new and rare. He knows his friend can be very gullible, probably from years of experience. And yet, despite his desire to stay hidden in cool and comfort, he ventures out and finds himself face to face with the living God. He encounters a new life and new possibilities, and Jesus promises him even more than he can imagine, as he steps out in faith. We are invited to step out in faith today.
"Gracious Creator, you made us in your imagine and gave us minds and hearts to seek you. Strengthen our will and our bodies, so that we may never fail to venture out of comfort into the light of your possibilities. May the world we know so well be transformed by your love, as we too, transformed for the good of all the people. Amen"