When we lived in Pennsylvania, it seemed like the lights in the sanctuary were always left on. I hate to admit it, but it terrified me to go into that building at night. I thought it might be the time Jesus wanted to talk to me, face-to-face. I could picture the roof opening up. A divine light descending and the voice of God calling me out by name to go serve. Go ask Saul, in these type of encounters, Jesus rarely calls you to a Club Med vacation.
This morning, Peter tells Jesus, “See we have left everything behind to follow you.” Immediately the events of this past week washed over my mind. Where can I go to leave everything behind? Can I remove myself to a quiet place and pray it all away?
Unfortunately, Peter left behind good things to take on difficult ones. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, “The Cost of Discipleship,” came to mind. Bonhoeffer said the place of the Christian is in the midst of poverty, suffering, hunger and thirst. We are called to be meek, merciful, and peacemakers with our bodies in the world and our hearts drawn to heaven.
Ours is not the worst of times, it might actually be a very profound time. Our nation was not formed because England wanted to give land away for an experiment in freedom. Slavery didn’t end because everyone thought it was a good idea. Women didn’t get the right to vote because the public said, “That’s an idea we never tried.” All positive change comes with a struggle, often a violent one.
Don’t get lost in hopelessness. Trust in the Holy Spirit. Keep your body in this world and your heart drawn to heaven. Explore ways to discover the power of being meek, merciful, and a peacemaker and the glory of the Lord will shine through. (Mt. 19:27-29)