If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.
Summer is a great time for movies—new, action blockbusters, as well as old, familiar classics. One of my favorite “oldies but goodies” is Sister Act, starring Whoopi Goldberg. Remember the scene when the choir of nuns sings “I will Follow Him”? They start out slowly, reverently, their beautiful harmonies reverberating in the rafters of the church—”I will follow him; Ever since he touched my heart, I knew, There isn’t an ocean too deep, A mountain so high it can keep me away, away from his love.” Then they start to rock out, with Whoopi in her afro and hoop earrings leading the way—“I love Him, I love Him, I love Him And where He goes I’ll follow, I’ll follow, I’ll follow.” What might at first seem a bit scandalous, eventually gets everyone smiling, dancing, on their feet, and clapping (even the Pope!).
How can we feel this happy about service? How can we respond full-heartedly and with great enthusiasm to God’s call, rather than merely out of obligation? John’s Gospel suggests that we “follow” our Lord. Where can we find him? At dinner parties, fishing, picnics, and in the house of worship; we find Christ in the streets, and wherever there are people who need to hear some good news. And make no mistake: Jesus created some scandals of his own! He was often criticized for eating and drinking with “sinners,” for going about with joy and generosity, rather than with piety and pessimism.
We can certainly find Christ in many, many places around St. James Parish: in our thrift store, in our outreach office, with the altar guild and in the Godly Play classroom, in a vestry meeting or at our Sunday night supper, or even singing in the choir! There are many places and ways to find Jesus and to serve God—we just have to open our hearts and eyes and follow him.
So this summer, whether you are out and about with family, at the beach or at a movie, or here at church, tending the garden or enjoying the theater of C.S. Lewis, listen to God’s voice calling you to serve; have a conversation with me or a vestry member about how you can connect that passion to serve with a need in our community. For that is where ministry is born.
Yours in the Love of Christ,