In the Gospel of John, when John the Baptist’s disciples saw Jesus they wondered where he lived. They asked and Jesus said, “Come and See.” They followed.
When I was in the ninth grade, I dreamed of what it would be to be a pastor. My curiosity was satiated by a list of pastors and lay people who encouraged me to “Come and See.” I did.
This week hundreds of youth from our synod are gathering in Western Alabama for the fiftieth year of what is now called AFFIRM. At this event hearts will be changed as the youth will worship and reflect together about their relationship with Jesus. A list of testimonies is being posted by past members who claim that was a turning point in their faith. This event invites youth to open their hearts and “Come and See” where Jesus is in the world.
I believe Jesus invites all of us to go into the world to see where God is alive and well. This summer I have set my attention of reaching out to shut-ins and various people as opportunities permit. I have enjoyed it immensely. The joy comes from getting to know people more deeply as we share our stories about life. It is not so much a time to see someone in a different setting (although that is neat), as a time to look into their life stories and see where God has been alive.
Next week during servant camp, our youth will have the opportunity to look into eyes of people and animals to see where God is alive and well. Not only with the youth share their own faith walk with each other but with people who they have never met.
Recently a professor, Rev. Rolf Jacobson, commented on a text in scripture and noted that the identity of the church is found out in the world where God calls us. He gave the illustration of inviting someone to your own house verses going to their house. He said that he would much rather have someone at his house even though it would mean more work than going to the unfamiliar space of another. BUT, that is exactly where God calls us. God calls us into the world where we must adjust ourselves to others. Think of the adjustments he made for us.
When I was in grade school there was nothing more exciting, and fearful at the same time, as staying overnight at a friend’s house. What would I wear? (especially pajamas) What would we eat? What would his parents be like? All those fears and questions went away as soon as I was playing whatever it was that we were playing.
I think the news paints a picture of an evil world that we can come to fear. However, my experience this summer has taught me different. The more I venture out, I come to see more clearly the beautiful world and its people that God has made. Enjoy your summer. Venture out Go and See!
~In His Service