When the days drew near for him to be taken up, Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:51-62
Every year on the duck pond in Cape May Point, a new batch of little ducks are born. There are a sight to see and a joy to watch. They are awkward and small, struggling to keep up. Their life depends on them following their mother. She will challenge them, and push them, in order that they might survive. Though they follow her, if she senses danger, she will confront the danger along, making the little ones stay back. Her whole life is about giving them the strength and skill to survive, and the ability to go ahead on their own.
Jesus is talking to his disciples about the hard times ahead. They did not want to hear it, and wanted to punish someone else for their extreme anxiety. Jesus would have us understand that we need to follow closely to learn how to live, we need to lean into the lessons and be challenged beyond where we are comfortable. The Master would have us thrive amidst the challenges, giving us strength and faith for the struggles ahead.
Today, I would follow Jesus. May we be ready to be humble as we follow, willing to give up our images and crowns for the sake of others. May we be ready always to be students of the Divine teacher, who desires to give us the all that we need for the journey ahead.