Our Immediate Response

Week of January 22, 2017

In the Gospel Peter and Andrew, James and John hear the call of the Lord, hear His voice and they immediately respond.  It is amazing that this happens without the practice of answering text messages immediately throughout a day.  The disciples would fit into our texting society of today.  They know how to leave everything they are doing, mending nets, talking about their day. They left all of that to immediately drop everything and respond.

It amazes me how accustomed we have grown to the immediate need to answer a text.  When I went to the Winter Classic in St. Louis to see the Blackhawks play, I was surrounded by great people enjoying the game.  Yet throughout the game, people were looking down at their phones texting, tweeting, face booking while live action was taking place on the ice.  They paid deeply for those seats, but the pressure of responding immediately takes over.  This takes place not just in games of entertainment and in movie theaters, it happens on roadways even though it is illegal, it happens in meetings when the lecture is boring and even when it is not, and it happens at meals and restaurants.  It is amazing the power of immediate.  When one does not respond immediately, the next text comes asking the questions, where are you and what are you doing that you cannot respond to my text?

With all of this pressure to be immediate, the call to faith does not always seem to have that power. God calls and we sometimes take our time.  We know He is a patient God, we know He is an understanding and forgiving God, so we take our time.  Peter and Andrew, James and John found the need for immediate long before technology.  What was it in His voice?  His tone? His inflection?  There is something about Jesus.  It must have been the gaze in His eyes; it must have been the humble, yet confident manner in which He approached the boats.  In a text we do not see emotions, we do not see the damage that can be done to the one receiving the text.  The call of Jesus is personal.  For me as a high school student I sat in the pew Sunday after Sunday with the Lord speaking to my heart saying He needed me. While I denied His asking until halfway into college, I knew it was Him and I knew what He was asking.  While I never went through the “why me” phase, I did go through the “let me show you what else I can do with my talents and you might like that better” phase.  Immediate and persistent is the call.  Persistent and consistent is the invitation.  Consistent and unrelenting is the promise.  When James and John, Peter and Andrew followed Jesus, their lives were forever changed.  What Jesus invited them into was a relationship.  It was a relationship built on trust, wonder and awe and the belief in the possibility of a Kingdom of God that was both fulfilling and redemptive. It was a Kingdom where the poor are blessed and the meek are praised.  It is a Kingdom where the hungry are fed and the sorrowful of heart are brought to joy.

God continues to call.  God will continue to be persistent.  God will continue to invite us to relationship.  May we respond immediately.

Reverend John J. Ouper