It is our patronal feast celebration, which makes it a big day for us. It is like our birthday. Jesus said to Andrew and his brother and some other fisher people, follow me, and they did. What was that about? What in that moment and in that time caused Andrew to say goodbye to fishing, and leave everyone and everything behind to follow Jesus. It may well have been that the fishing was bad, but more likely it was that the vision was better.
This Sunday, the last Sunday before Advent, is designated as Christ the King. The Feast of St. Andrew actually falls on November 30th, but we decided it was time to celebrate that all together on Sunday morning. And what Andrew must have seen in Jesus must have had something to do with who Jesus was and is. Over the centuries one of the ways we have come to know Jesus is through this image of king. Andrew gave up everything to follow this man. Did he see a king? Did he see a leader? Did he see a savior? Who did he see, who did he follow? And, did Andrew have any interior struggle in coming to the place where he could leave his life behind to follow Jesus?
Jesus, King and carpenter. Jesus, King and fisher of people. The designation King came much much later than this story. Come, follow me, and I promise you a life of hardship and joy, I promise you a life of heartache and compassion, I promise you a life that will end in death, don't they all, but I promise you a life worth living. I promise a kingdom of imperfect people, made perfect in God's love. I promise a kingdom of people who miss the mark, a kingdom of sinners, forgiven and free. I promise a kingdom of truth tellers, even when the truth is hard to tell and hard to hear. I promise a kingdom in which love wins. I promise a kingdom where you are included, no matter what, just the way you are. And I promise to show you the way.
And that kingdom will change you. It will transform you. In that kingdom you will become a servant, you will become one who looks to the best interest of the other. You will become a lover for whom the beloved is most important. You will become a friend who is merciful and compassionate. You will become a listener. You will become a truth teller. You begin to see that we are in the same boat. By recognizing how similar your failure to love is to your enemy’s failure to love, we may not be capable of warm fuzzies toward our enemy, but we can at least begin to respect his or her dignity as a human being. We can at least begin to see that we are probably more alike than we would want to think.
Makes sticking with fishing look darn attractive.
You see this kingship of Jesus is not like what we have come to understand about kingship. It's not about power at the top of the food chain. That's all backwards and turned around and upside down. That kind of power does not understand, or make room for, the grace, the mercy, the compassion of brokenness. Because the goal of that kind of power is to make sure that no one sees your weakness. And the effect of that kind of power is to exclude, abuse, and exploit. Jesus' kingship is about the one whose very life heals. Jesus' kingship is about the one whose very body creates bonds of love. Jesus' kingship is about the one whose very blood seeps into our skin and makes us whole. Jesus' kingship is about the one whose very body is a gift for you.
That's why lowly fisherpeople follow Jesus. Somehow Andrew and his brother Simon get a glimpse that the world is not about who's got the most fish or the biggest boat. Or at least the world they would like to be a part of creating is not about who's got the most fish or the biggest boat. The world they would like to be a part of creating, by following Jesus, and bringing their friends with them, is a world in which those who are on the margins are brought to the center. That world is about the love that is unconditional and available no matter what. That world is about the life that really gets started when we're at the end of our own strength, and God's grace and love make their appearance. That world is about all of us being in the same boat.
Come, follow me, says the one who shows us the way. Come, follow me, and your life will be filled with heartache and happiness. Come, follow me, and you will loose your life, and gain a body that will carry you when you are broken, support you when disease visits you, love you when the world will not, celebrate when you come home after loosing everything.
Come follow me and you will never go hungry. Your emptiness will be filled. Come follow me and you will find great power and strength as the bread and wine seep into the fragments and fissures of your heart and soul and make you whole. Come follow me and you may listen to the truth of broken hearts, broken lives, and offer the love that wins.
Jesus, who we call King, Jesus who we call friend, Jesus who we call communion, Jesus, who we call Love, Jesus calls us to follow, and to bring our sisters and brothers. Jesus calls us to a new way, a way of love, healing, hope, wholeness. Amen