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 about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth." Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, "Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!" Nathanael asked him, "Where did you get to know me?" Jesus answered, "I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you." Nathanael replied, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" Jesus answered, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these." And he said to him, "Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." John 1:43-51
There are safe places and hiding places, places where we can be and feel completely ourselves. The places, these arbors of comfort and familiar, make us feel secure and at home. We are comforted, and peaceful. We had a fig tree when I was a child that was so easy to hide within and there we could find coolness and quiet, so near home and so safe. We all need places where we know ourselves, comforted and in our element.
Jesus came to the place where Nathaniel was at home. Jesus found him in his element, where he was honestly and completely himself. Nathaniel is convinced to follow Jesus because the teacher knew him in his completeness, his down to earth self and accepted and welcomed him just as he was. And God takes us all that way, completely in our simple, whole selves, warts, wounds, challenges, awards and all. In our completely we are loved.
Today I ask God to help me embrace the welcome God has offered, to come just as I am. May we never be afraid to draw close to God for God see us in our completeness and loves us completely. And may we draw near to others accepting them as we have been, completely.
Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ's glory, that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.