Wednesday, January 27, 2016

You Have Come Down To The Lakeshore

This hymn was written by a Spanish priest named Cesáreo Gabaraín in 1979. He wrote it just after returning from a trip to the Holy land where he visited Galilee. This hymn has become very popular and has been translated into over eighty languages.

As Jesus came down to the lakeshore of Galilee, he found Peter and Andrew, James and John. Jesus was looking for volunteers. He was conducting his own job fair. For Jesus, a specialist in job placement, this was personal. The recruits would be working for, with, around and under his direct supervision. We do not know what conversation took place that day. Only the words of Jesus: "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. (Matthew 4:19-20 NIV)

Even today Jesus continues to seek out those who will follow him. It does not matter who we are — man or woman, child, teenager, senior citizen — or where we have been in our lives. Jesus calls us to follow. As common, ordinary people, we are called to carry the Gospel message, the good news of Christ, to all the world. And the greatest job benefit ever offered is in the words of Jesus: “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20b NIV)

The call to discipleship, to follow Jesus, is for each and every one of us. Jesus is looking for personnel in a very personal way. “You have come to call me.” From the very beginning, the coming of Jesus was personal. The angel said to the shepherds: “I am bringing you good news, for to you this day is born a Savior who is Christ the Lord.” And, in the words of our baptism: “I baptize you.” And as Jesus comes to us in Holy Communion: “This is my body, my blood, given and shed for you.”

Jesus, still today, is personally looking, searching, asking us to follow him. The first disciples had no idea what they were getting into when they began to follow Jesus. Nor do we. So, will we say “yes”? Will we answer his call to “follow me”?

You Have Came Down to the Lakeshore

Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes;
kindly smiling, you've called out my name.

On the sand I have abandoned my small boat;
now with you, I will see other seas.

  1. You have come down to the lakeshore seeking neither the wise nor the wealthy, but only asking for me to follow, REFRAIN
  2. You know full well what I have, Lord: neither treasure nor weapons for conquest, just these my fishing nets and will for working. REFRAIN
  3. You need my hands, my exhaustion, working love for the rest of the weary a love that's willing to go on loving. REFRAIN
  4. You who have fished other waters; you, the longing of souls that are yearning: O loving Friend, you have come to call me. REFRAIN

John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople

Today the church remembers John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, 407.

In an influential, prosperous, and sophisticated city at the apex of international power, it is rarely popular to advocate restraint, self-control, and responsible living. When the leaders of mighty Constantinople elected John Chrysostom to be Patriarch of the city, they thought they had elected a holy man who would bless and affirm them in their way of living. They were only half right.

Chrysostom's powerful sermons in the great cathedral, Santa (Hagia) Sophia, soon became like a cauldron of scalding water thrown in the faces of the rich and proud citizens of Constantinople. His example of piety, charity, and simple living was an embarrassment to many. Eventually, through the intrigue of a vain and powerful lady, Eudoxia, and a jealous and corrupt clergyman, Theophilus, John was exiled. He died as a prisoner on a forced march into the Caucasus Mountains in winter, a martyr for righteousness in a society bent on lust. However, his preaching and exemplary living had so touched the hearts of many that sweeping reforms were soon instituted and life in the great city was profoundly changed for a generation or more.
The numerous volumes which we have of his sermons and commentaries have not lost their relevance today. The Liturgy of the Church in Constantinople, which he profoundly influenced, still bears his name. From this we get the "Prayer of St. Chrysostom" from The Book of Common Prayer.

"ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee; and dost promise, that when two or three are gathered together in thy Name thou wilt grant their requests; Fulfil now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of thy truth, and in the world to come life everlasting. Amen."

O God, you gave your servant John Chrysostom grace eloquently to proclaim your righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of your Name: mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellence in preaching, and faithfulness in ministering your Word, that your people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Meditation for January 27, 2016

Genesis 16:13 So she named the Lord who spoke to her, “You are El-roi.”

Every day, we become more and more aware of national and local discussions about race and the biases we hold. Some prejudices we are aware of, and others lie beneath our consciousness. These biases are a kind of impaired sight. We are not typically consciously judging people based on how they look, but our subconscious vision and our judgment is fallible.

In our Genesis lesson, Hagar calls God El-roi, which means “God who sees” or “God of seeing.” If we follow the God of seeing and we follow Jesus (who instructs us to love others, even the enemy and the stranger), then we are compelled to do all we can to correct our vision.

I often imagine religion, at its best, as a corrective lens. Our liturgies and prayers and communities are tools to help us know and love each other better, to bring us closer to one another where we can see more clearly.