Enrolled in Christ

Each time we approach the Lord in the Scriptures, God, living and active, is preparing us to meet him in that time of prayer, in the life that waits on the other side of death and in the life we experience here and now. It is critical for us to grasp this truth, as we set out on the journey of discipleship: God is not merely present; God is alive and well, active, moving, speaking, teaching, guiding, leading, providing, protecting, feeding.

In every Liturgy, there are multiple aspects of the Christian life that are addressed. The Lord is always trying to get our attention, always trying to speak to us in a message appropriate for that very moment in our lives and for the moment just around the corner.

I tend to think of the Gospel as the “Main Event” of the Liturgy of the Word. It is in the Gospels we learn of the person of Christ; we see him in action, hear his personality, and grow to understand his priorities and preferences, even his likes and dislikes to a degree.

The big events in this week’s Scriptures are two encounters of which little description is given (particularly in this account), one with Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew and the other with the brothers James and John. All were fishermen going about the work of their trade.

What piqued the curiosity of the Lord we are not told here, though the account of Luke gives more detail. The similarities across the three accounts in the synoptic Gospels (those accounts that serve as synopses of Jesus’s life) are striking.

First, Jesus saw these guys. That’s it. He saw them. This is important for us, because it tells us something extremely key to the life of faith – God’s heart is moved by us. We catch his eye, and we move God to love and affection. It is nothing specific in our intent or manner that does this, but rather just us being us – I being I, God loves me; you being you, God loves you.

The Creator of everything that exists perceives us and cares personally, individually, collectively and totally for us. (As an aside, you’ll find that God doesn’t do anything halfway. It isn’t in the nature of the Divine to be any less than 100% invested in the things He does.)

Jesus, God-made-Man, demonstrates the care of the Father for us, as he sees Peter, Andrew, James and John and calls to them and invites them to be participants in his work. The way he calls to them is a bit peculiar, too. The accounts do not agree precisely in timing or phrasing, but he made them fishers of men in each of Matthew, Mark and Luke’s accounts.

Thus begins the discipleship of some of the greatest Saints in the history of the Church. Jesus called them one day, and within hours, they had left the life and work they knew. In essence, they had taken up a new trade. Where once they were fishermen, experts in the catching of fish on open water, they would now begin an apprenticeship in the trade of drawing people to God in Christ Jesus.

And this is precisely what “discipleship” is: a curriculum, a course of learning, as the apprentice to a master craftsman.

I’m a bit of an appreciator of words, and according to Online Etymology Dictionary (www.etymonline.com), the word disciple has a really fascinating collection of roots, by which we arrive at the modern understanding, and especially the Christian application of the word. One way of deconstructing the term could be “one who takes apart so as to grasp.”

This discipleship is the process we’ll be undertaking for these coming months, as Fr. Steven mentioned a few times over the course of the past weeks. We will take apart the various tenets of Christian life, in order to grasp them. This process helps us then see the beauty of the whole tapestry of faith in Jesus, as we then know the value of each thread and color, and how the ethic of the whole is served thereby.

The process of discipleship is, of course, one that does not end. Furthermore, it is absolutely necessary. If we would aspire to be saints, we must do the work of learning God’s own heart, as expressed perfectly in Jesus.

David Dunst

Music Director

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