Sometimes, I get really excited about a thing. It might be a video that makes me laugh, or think, or just explains something really well. It might be a TV show or a movie. And there are… some I won’t share about from the pulpit. We can talk about it later.
But, on New Year’s Eve Netflix released the new season of Queer Eye. We were hosting 2 toddlers and their parents so we didn’t really get a chance to watch it yet so let’s go back. The previous season was several years ago and the first episode of season 5 was with a Lutheran minister. It was a little bit about the minster’s confidence and it was a little bit of the naming and healing even a tiny bit of the trauma that Bobby, one of the guys, had in his own religious household and church as a gay child. If you need to see an honest and vulnerable exchange, or if you need to cry, come and see.
Last year, I think it was the Stellings, but probably a couple of you mentioned My Octopus Teacher–a documentary about learning from an octopus. I’ll admit, I still haven’t watched it, but you said, come and see.
But we do that. We recommend shows and movies and books. We have stories we want to share and experiences that we want to offer others. We want a conversation. We want a connection. We want to share what good we have seen and experienced and learn with those in our area. We don’t force it on each other.
Our story in John sounds familiar and unfamiliar all at the same time. It starts on the next day, the day after John the Baptizer, who had been collecting people around him, had pointed out Jesus to the Jewish leaders, to anyone who could hear him yell. And what we know about John the Baptizer is that he liked to yell, often at people. Honestly, we don’t know that much about him. And maybe those who followed him heard him point out Jesus and then asked a lot of questions. And the next day, when John pointed him out again, some of them went to follow Jesus the man who John called the Lamb of God.
And they became Jesus’ disciples in the weirdest way possible! You might know the story of Jesus calling men, always men, from their boats, away from their work. These men because disciples by following Jesus first, trailing behind him as he walked through town. What was Jesus annoyed when he asked what they were looking for? confused? curious? amused? And they responded with “Where are you staying? or Abiding? or Who’s couch are you sleeping on?” So many weird questions.
And Jesus responds with Come and See.
Come and See what God is doing. Come and see what the word made flesh. Come and see this Good News. Come and see the signs.
Come and see who this Jesus is.
And they did. These guys spent the whole day with Jesus. They saw something. Something happened and they committed. We don’t get to know what it was. What we do know is that whatever Andrew saw had him running to his brother, Simon.
Think about the best news you’ve ever had, engagement, new baby, new job, new house, a new friend, and the first thing you do is run to your sibling or your best friend or your partner, and you just can’t contain the news. That is Andrew running to Simon. That is Phillip running to Nathanael. They couldn’t wait to tell about the Rabbi they had just met, about the messiah who had come, about Jesus.
These men, before, as far as we know, Jesus had done anything miraculous. Something happened in them, or to them, when Jesus spoke and was with them. Something happened in the space between them. I have been reading just this past week The Little Book of Hygge (Hoo-Gee), a Danish word that includes: comfort, safety, cozy, warmth, a hug. It is a feeling of a space. And I wonder if it was something like that around Jesus., when they were just talking and learning and hearing and seeing him live, committed to the work he was doing and the world he was creating and the work he was about to do. And they were so committed and excited about what they were doing together with Jesus that they went out and invited those they loved to join them. They bore witness to the thing that was happening in them when Jesus spoke, when they were in Jesus presence.
This is the call of the disciples in John. It is an invitation, not to abandon the life you lived before but to come and see what is happening. Come and see the Jesus that we have met. Come and see the world that we are creating with Jesus. Come and see.
This isn’t a coercive invitation. This isn’t an invitation rooted in fear. This isn’t calling out to strangers on the street corners or from the shoreline to those in boats. This is an invitation to see, meet, enjoy, to the people that those were had committed already loved, and knew, and were in relationship with.
Maybe you’re feeling like you’ve been invited to come and see, to meet Jesus, to commit to this life with Jesus, to follow for a while to see who this Jesus is, to see what this world Jesus is creating.
Maybe you’re feeling like you’ve been following Jesus, maybe you have seen the signs of who Jesus is in your life and in the world, maybe it is time to remember that commitment.
Maybe there is someone you haven’t invited to come and see the Jesus you have met, the community you have met, the community that we have created, and the mission and ministry, the world that we are co-creating. Who do you know that you might invite to come and see?
The invitation to come and see is a commitment. A commitment to gather, to be open to the movement of God, to meet Jesus on Jesus’ terms, and for you to be known and loved as you are.
The New Year is a chance to renew a commitment, to remember who and whose you are, to live into the promise and covenant that God has made with us and all of creation. It is an old Wesleyian tradition to have a prayer of Covenant Renewal, to remember the promises made at your baptism and when you were made aware of the great and amazing grace of God in your life.
Our prayer today comes from that tradition, but is a bit updated. We also remember that at the baptism of each person into our community, we remember and renew our covenant relationship with God, with each other who is the church, and with all of creation.
If this will be meaningful for your new year, will you join me in our prayer?