I write in my books. I dog-ear the pages, too. Sometimes I go back and read what I underlined, the pages I marked and comments I wrote in the margins. Sometimes I can’t remember why things once seemed important. Other times I am glad to be reminded of the truly important.
Looking over my Advent devotional, Celebrating Abundance, by Walter Brueggemann, I discovered that pages 44 and 45 (Third Thursday in Advent) were heavily marked. The title for that day is A Dangerous Summons. The devotion is about the call of Jesus to repentance, for the kingdom of heaven is drawing near. Jesus said to Peter and Andrew, follow me. According to Matthew, they immediately left their nets and followed.
The summons is dangerous because the kingdom of heaven is different. We pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth…” What would change if our prayers were answered? If we really let God run things, our world might become unrecognizable! We prepare for the kingdom with repentance. That means exercising our choice to change. We can change if we choose. We can choose to change our minds, change our hearts, change our values, change our allegiances, and change our behavior. Change can be frightening, especially when if it’s personal. We may have to drop something important in order to enter the kingdom. We can change so that our will aligns with God’s will. The summons is dangerous because it is a summons to follow. Jesus asks for undivided loyalty. Loyalty to old ways has to be relinquished. Following means doing things Jesus’ way.
Matthew wrote that Peter and Andrew immediately left their nets and followed him. They eagerly embraced Jesus and his way. They were eager for a new way, a new world so they dropped something important. Who is eager to drop what is important and embrace a totally new way? What is more important than the way of Jesus?
Brueggemann notes that Jesus did not nag or coerce anyone. He simply offered the invitation to follow him on his way. Sometimes I wonder how many people Jesus called before twelve said yes. How many others said no because something else was more important? Walter Brueggemann calls this A Dangerous Summons. Jesus came into the world to change it. Jesus came to change us. Is anything else more important?