From the Priest-In-Charge of Sarum St. Martin’s
3rd in OT 2018
The Call of the Lord Jesus is insistent. It is a call that cannot be ignored. The apostles heard what Jesus had to say and experienced His presence and left all to follow him. Jesus still calls to the world, and to us to follow Him and in that following know His life.
As we begin our worship of God Most High in this mass we recall those times when we have refused His Call and ask for forgiveness.
It being a Sunday evening we were watching an episode of Top Gear. The Star in the Reasonable Priced Car that show was Ellen Macarthur. Now if you do not recall that name let me remind you. She was the Derbyshire woman who made the fastest single-handed circumnavigation of the world. During the banter, Jeremy Clarkson said to her, ‘You’re the one who dragged us out of the cave! If it had been left to me we would all still be living in the cave. But thanks to people like you, we were dragged into civilisation!’
Jeremy Clarkson is not usually known as a philosopher, but he made a very cogent point in this conversation, and that point is; when faced with just sitting around and being content to just carry on, thank goodness for those who don’t! In this morning’s Gospel we have a scene in which four men stopped sitting around and followed the Lord.
Reading the scripture the thing that always strikes me is the immediacy of the response of the four, ‘And at once they left their nets and followed him …. He called them at once … (and) … they went after him.’ Its very much like Clarkson’s ‘You’re the one who dragged us out of the cave!’. The Lord called and the four responded, only they were not going to be ‘dragged into civilisation!’, rather they were going to experience Life, the Life of Jesus. We might ask why? Why did they follow Him?
A friend of mine who has no faith but has witnessed what faith can do recently said that he was going to read the Bible because he wanted to understand how it was that people continued to believe in spite of the many difficulties with which they are faced. I commended this to him, but added Christian faith is about a relationship, something that you have to catch, a bit like a disease or a falling in love. Jesus is at the centre of this. In the gospel for today we see the four not only leaving their nets immediately, but doing so because He, Jesus, called them. Did they fall in love with Him, or did they catch the disease of Him? Probably both and probably more. But the movement was clear: Jesus called, they responded. Each one of us in this Church has enjoyed that same calling and that same responding, otherwise, why are we here? Yet there is more.
The four were called and responded immediately. But that was not it. The call of the Saviour came to them time and time again, so that time and time again they had, as it were, to re-respond. The call of Christ to faith in Him and the response is but the beginning, the beginning of a growing and deepening relationship that lasts all through life on this earth and beyond. However, do we hear the repeated call of Jesus? Yes, No? Only we can answer that for ourselves. Yet if we say, ‘I’ve never heard a call’ perhaps we are saying, ‘My ears are closed’. And again, if difficulties come so that we lose faith, perhaps again our ears are closed to Him.