#Witness is the reflection for January 18, 2015. Here is the scene: God gives John the Baptizer and Philip insight as to who Jesus is.  See what happens next. Find out more by listening to the reflection.  It may change your weekend. #MSAWordfortheDay #MySpiritualAdvisor #Sermon #Homily #John #Philip

 

For listener supported MySpiritualAdvisor, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday,   1/18/2015 The 2nd   Sunday of Ordinary Time.

Please pause this audio and read John 1:43-51.

          When I was a pastor in the United Methodist Church in North Carolina, I made a friend of my mechanic. He was a man who did not go to church. He and his wife seemed so happy. She was bright and bubbly. He was serious and amused. When I would get my car worked on, I would stop and talk with him. I had no interest in auto racing, but he did. I intentionally learned about racing and asked him questions about it. We struck up a friendship. Years later, when I no longer lived in North Carolina, he allowed me to call him to make sure that my mechanic wherever I was living was giving me the straight story on my repairs.

          Eventually, when we would have events at the Church, I would invite him. He would always decline. Through it all, he was willing to put up with my invitations because I was willing to accept him for who he is and was.

          Years later, when I was no longer a pastor of a church and feeling quite down about the prospects of my life, a parishioner contacted me on facebook to tell me that I should call my mechanic. When I called he told me that his wife had left him, he had started going to the church I used to serve, and was now in the process of becoming a pastor himself.

          Who have you invited to an event at church this weekend?

          Unfortunately, the Catholic Denominations and the Protestant Denominations do not share the same Gospel reading for this Sunday. The Catholics focus on John the Baptist proclaiming Jesus the “Lamb of God” in fulfillment of Isaiah 52 and 53. The Protestants have Jesus encountering Philip and making him his first disciple according to the Gospel of John. What these passages have in common is something simple: both John and Philip cause others to come follow Jesus.

          Is the event of Jesus in the world something that is so important in your life that you would take that kind of a risk?

          John the Baptist proclaims Jesus as the Lamb, the one who is sacrificed for our sins. The Gospel does not have a context for Jesus being declared the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. How does he know this? He knows this because it is revealed to him by God. John is the same child that the Gospel of Luke tells us is preordained to be the second Elijah who comes to proclaim the coming of the Messiah. John has been a prophet for some time. He knows that Jesus is greater than he is. He knows, because God has revealed it to him, that Jesus is the one to come to save Israel. He proclaims this and then, members of the community of Israel, John’s own followers, leave his side and follow Jesus.

          Philip is simply told by Jesus, “follow me.” Philip follows Jesus. He then goes and tells Nathaniel, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Then Nathaniel goes to Jesus just to see if this is true what Philip has said. When he goes, Jesus reveals that he saw Nathaniel before Philip came to him. This causes Nathaniel to believe.

          What we see here is that the event of Jesus Christ has caused a connection in two men: John the Baptist and Philip. They both are moved by who the revelation of Jesus is to invite others to come and see. Notice there is no coercion. There is no arm twisting. There are no long convincing arguments. There is no long session of talking about eternal life. Yet, there is risk of alienation of friends, followers, and others when John, Philip, and we risk talking out loud about our faith. John shouts it. Philip takes it to his friend Nathaniel.

          When was the last time you actually talked about your faith in God to someone else?

          What I am getting at, as you probably know, is that revelation has had an impact in our lives. We may go to church. We may stop during the day to pray. We have a relationship with Jesus Christ that has made a difference in our lives. We are people who have had God break into the history of our lives to let us know we are loved. We are forgiven. We are valued by the Lord of the universe. Because of these facts, we are calmer, more loving, kind, generous, and can sleep better at night. Why wouldn’t we want that for everyone else, especially those who are most important to us?

          We cannot be focused on the results. Did that person like us? Did that person begin coming to church? Did that person do what I hoped they would? These cannot be factors in how we give testimony to the revelation of who Jesus Christ is. It may not be time. It may need time to marinate and resonate. Life may be shielding them from seeing what is true. We have no control over the results, but we are not expected to have results. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that we should have a number of people we should “convert.” The only thing that we are told by Scripture and tradition is that we should testify because the revelation of God has made a profound difference in our lives. It was enough to make a mechanic into a pastor.

          Who have you invited to church this weekend?

          Is the event of Jesus in the world something that is so important in your life that you would take a risk?

          When was the last time you actually talked about your faith in God to someone else?

          Today is not too late. Amen.

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