2nd Sunday after Epiphany – You are known and called.

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The Word This Week:

Let us Pray: In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, AMEN.

 Good Morning again everyone!

 We live in a world where privacy is becoming increasingly less and less present in our lives.  People share all the trivia of our day to day existence on Facebook and twitter… yet there is still that part of us that we keep secret, our inmost thoughts, feelings and desires, that we don’t share with the world, that we keep hidden.  Sometimes we keep it hidden because it is embarrassing, sometimes we bury it because it is painful, but we all have those parts of our lives, those parts of ourselves that we hide away, that we don’t share.

There is one however that knows our deepest darkest secrets. There is one who knows our hopes and our dreams, our fears and our joys.  There is one who knows every good deed we have done in secret, and every wrong we have committed. 

God knows us.  You will note the theme present in our readings today, speak of God’s intimate knowledge of us.  Our psalm starts us off with the psalmist speaking of God’s intimate knowledge of our inmost being.  God knows our thoughts, our hearts, he knows every detail of us for it was he who created us, it was he who knitted us together in our mothers womb.  More important than that, the psalmist says “In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.

God already knows us, he already knows the mistakes we will make and the sin we will commit before we are born… and yet he loves us. So much does he love us that he was willing to come to earth as one of us. Jesus was willing to become a human being, and die on the cross for us so that we could be brought back into full communion with the God who created us – this God who has known us since before time began.

And make no mistake brothers and sisters, that is what Jesus death and resurrection is about.  This God, who is the creator and sustainer of the entire universe wants to be in relationship with you and me.  So great is his love for us, despite our tendency to reject him, despite our inclination to sin. This God who formed the stars, and planets and who created life from nothing – calls us.  He calls you and me to relationship with him.

This is what St Paul is speaking of in his letter to the Corinthians when he says that we are united to the Lord and become one in spirit with Him.  God calls us to unity with Him, to be at one with him in our very souls. He calls us to join our hearts to his heart and our thoughts to his thoughts, so that just as when Nathaniel looked at Jesus and saw God revealed, we can be those who reveal God to the world.

I want you to notice something about how Nathaniel became a disciple of Jesus Christ, about how he came to recognise Jesus as the Son of God, and his Lord.  Nathaniel wasn’t directly called by Jesus, as other disciples had been, Jesus didn’t walk up and say follow me as he had other times… no, it was Philip who Jesus called like that… and then it was Philip who brought the revelation to Nathaniel.  He told Nathaniel that Jesus was the fulfilment of the Hebrew scriptures – that he was the promised Messiah… Nathaniel as you might expect living in a period of time where there had been more than a few false Messiahs running about, has a healthy dose of scepticism… can anything good come from Nazareth? he says…

Here is the clincher… are you ready? Philip doesn’t launch into a long exegesis of the Hebrew scriptures to explain how this poor son of a tradesman from the tiny village of Nazareth –  in Galilee of all places – could be the promised Messiah. He doesn’t deride Nathaniel for his scepticism… what does he do?

 … He says – Come and see.

Philip has much to teach all of us about evangelism.  It is not our role to argue people into the kingdom. It is not our role to be the moral police for society.  Our primary role is to live in unity with the God who created us, and to say to those who question why… come and see.

We are called not to do God’s work in transforming lives, but to invite people to the place where they can experience God’s love and intimate knowledge first hand. When Nathaniel came face to face with Jesus, and realised that Jesus knew him, that he knew him before he had even seen him… it was then that he came to faith – not through argument or reason, but through experiencing God first hand.

So how do we do it? How do we be people who say come and see? Well it might sound silly to our ears… but why not just start with those words… come and see… when was the last time we invited someone to come to church with us? The worst they will say is no… the best that could happen is that they could experience their own meeting with God and have their lives transformed!

We also need to live our lives as those who have been transformed, as Paul says all things are lawful for me … but not all things are beneficial.  All things are lawful in the sense that we are saved by the grace of God and not by anything we do… but there are many things which we can do which are far from good for us… and which also draw us and those around us away from God.

If we are living as disciples of Christ. If we are seeking to be beacons of Christ’s love and hope in the world then our very lives will be inviting those around us to ‘come and see’.  If we are merely Sunday Christians who live the rest of the week as if God doesn’t exist – then the message we send to the world is one of hypocrisy and people will turn away.

So you’re thinking… OK Daryl you’ve had a big long rant, what does it all mean to me here and now…

It means that we who have placed our faith and hope in Jesus have a God in whom we can trust.  It means we have a God on whom we can lean in the hard times and with whom we can rejoice in the good times.  It means that we can have confidence that we are truly known, truly called and truly loved, and that we can boldly live our lives as his disciples.

It all means that if you are someone who has not ever freely given yourself over to Jesus – now is a good time to do it.  God already knows you, he created you and he is calling you into relationship with him.  He loves you so deeply that he went to the cross for you, he conquered death for you and is offering you a new way – a way that leads to life in abundance.  Are you sceptical? That’s OK… why not just come and see?

The Lord be with you…