I have attended several services led by our Bishop over the past few months, and so have heard her preach several times. She is a very gifted preacher. In this bit of writing, I have “borrowed liberally” from her recent sermons.
Our reading from Luke’s Gospel last Sunday was Jesus’s first call to his disciples. He comes to them after their long day of fishing, invites them to follow him, and tells them that they will be fishing for people if they do. Just as Jesus called upon his first disciples to “fish for people” 2000 years ago, he calls us to do the same today.
For too many years, our Bishop warns us, this meant inviting people to church. That, she says, is like going out on a first date with someone and having that person invite you home to meet parents. Whoa! It is just too much on that first date. Yes, she says, certainly we may want to invite someone to come to church with us at some point – but not too early or too quickly.
We should, though, always take the opportunity to talk with our friends and family members about the importance of faith in our lives. If others are talking about feeling lonely, we can talk about our faith giving us a closeness to God that comforts us. If others are talking about their struggles with illness, we can talk about our faith providing us comfort and strength. If others are talking about missing something in their lives, we can talk about God filling that missing space in our lives through our faith.
In this day and time, we can worry about talking about our faith. We worry about how others might hear it. As our Bishop says, we can worry that talking about Jesus can make us seem odd. But, she goes on to say with a smile, we are odd. Yes, in our society we are odd – we are unusual – by having faith as an important part of our lives. But, that is an oddness that we should embrace.
Think of all that your faith brings to your life. Sharing stories about that faith with others might set them on a path of increasing faith – faith that may bring to them what it has brought to you. Certainly, that is the work that Jesus calls on us to do.
And then, perhaps, when the time is right, ask them to come with you to church, that wonderful place where we express our faith, give God thanks for it, and watch it grow.
Go with God,