Friday 23rd March
Follow me... - Matthew 4:18-20
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will send you out to fish for people.' At once they left their nets and followed him.

The story of Christ's coming into the world is told through the lives of those who quietly obeyed and followed God's commission. Often they did so at significant personal cost; against the conventions and expectations of their day, but convinced that they were caught up in a higher purpose.

We can only grasp the full significance of this infant birth, as we follow the Gospel narratives into his adult life and ministry. And it is as this ministry begins, that a group of working fishermen find themselves confronted by a compelling stranger who stirs within them that selfsame conviction that decades before sent shepherds running to find a child in a manger; caused Mary and Elizabeth to utter words of prophetic certainty; that convinced Joseph to take Mary for his wife and become an earthly father to her unborn child.

Here, at the very heart of their working day, they encountered something that caused them to let go of the trappings of their identity and livelihood and to follow - not because they particularly knew where they were going, but because they believed in the one who beckoned them.

It is this same Jesus who calls us to follow him today. Like those fishermen, we can never fully know what our journey of discipleship will entail. Like them, we do not leave behind our daily lives, but bring Jesus to their very heart. The pathway we follow may sometimes be troubling and demanding; other times it might afford us overwhelming fulfilment and joy. Yet over and above these and any other experience, is the quiet confidence that the one we follow leads us to a place of eternal salvation and hope.

Advent embraces every reality of our world. It is a world that can at times confront us with the most disturbing of realities, yet one in which light will always shine, and one in which we are called to kindle that light at every opportunity. Inspired by the one whose birth was shrouded in circumstances that only eyes of faith could recognise as salvation's dawn, we walk amidst the darkness as a people of faith; a people of hope; a people of light; a people of God.

God of salvation, help me to follow you, not because of what I might experience but because of who you are; not because the path is easy, but because of who I might become - AMEN

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