(thinking about John 1:43-51)
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and
said to him, "Follow me." Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found him about whom Moses
in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth."
Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip
said to him, "Come and see." (John 1:43-46)
Not too long ago I had a phone interview with a church, and I knew up front their theology and mine did not make sense together. I went ahead with the interview in part for the experience and in part because I wanted to let the Spirit work whatever needed to be worked in the process. It did not surprise me when questions I think of as more fundamentalist in tone were asked. It did not surprise me, but it did shock me, just a little, the sort of jolt you get when you touch a metal doorknob on a crisp day. You knew it might be coming, but Oh! It prickles.
"When did you become a Christian?" I know the thinking that underlies this question, that the questioner wants to hear a story of some sort of realization and life change. I come from a tradition that incorporates that thinking, but I live in a tradition that believes in Christian Nurture, that we don't require the particular sort of conversion my questioner sought. I can answer that question with a story that speaks her language, but it's not my language anymore, and it's not my thinking anymore, and it comes out of my mouth awkwardly.
I want to think I've been following Jesus all along, since I took my first toddling steps in the nursery at Court Street Baptist Church. I think we can do that, on some elemental level, as little people. (And not just Jesus, but whatever our way may be. I'm one of those kind of thinkers. Don't tell the lady from the phone interview.) I want to think I've been moving along the path, coming to see.
Now, at a crossroads where I seem to have the choice to make once again about the priority of motherhood over the pursuit of career, I wonder how well I followed. No doubt my delay of years, in part due to divorce and the choice to take time to raise my children, changed the nature and direction of the path I might have followed, and now I tread a different one. Most of the time this feels fine to me, feels right and fitting, but some days I wonder where I might be and what I might be doing instead. Some days I wonder if I've really been, as my friend NotShyChiRev once said, "Fierce and Fabulous for Jesus." On those days I fear I have been mild and parochial for Jesus, and that does not feel like enough. On those days I wonder why I expect God to be in such a hurry to make things clear to me when I dilly-dallied so determinedly before responding to God's call.
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, "Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!" Nathanael asked him, "Where did you get to know me?" Jesus answered, "I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you." Nathanael replied, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"
Jesus answered, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these." And he said to him, "Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and
the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." (John 1:47-51)
Just this minute, I'm not sure I see much of anything. I want to see greater things, and I hoped they might include some fiercely fabulous usefulness on behalf of Jesus, as rendered by me.