April 13, 2019
“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” And after this [Jesus] said to him, “Follow me.” —John 21:18-19
During my sabbatical in 2013, I visited St. Margaret Mary Church in Swannanoa. The priest preached a sermon entitled, “Unpack for the Journey”. His basic message was that we carry many worldly burdens with us in our daily walk, and in order to follow Jesus, we need to let go of those. In the scripture quote above, Jesus is telling Peter to do just that. If we are going to follow Jesus, we must let go of the things that bind us to this world, and let Him gird us, fill our backpack with things of His choosing, and follow Him.
Bishop John Holloway used to preach that every member of the CEC needs to have a valid, up-to-date passport. It is one of the ways that we can be ready to respond quickly to God’s call. If He calls us to a mission overseas, will we be ready? You say, “But I’m not called to be a missionary.” Jesus tells Peter in the verse above, “when you are old…another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” Wait a minute. Do I not have a say in this? You have free will, but if your will is not truly submitted to Christ then you, not Christ, are still in control. St. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). That is the goal: total submission to Christ. And it is also a process—a process of unpacking, letting go of our will and submitting to Christ. None of us are there — yet! But by His grace we can grow into the fulness of relationship with Him.
Peter repented. He had this profound interaction with Jesus. And through this encounter he was fully restored to right relationship with His Lord, and that gave him the courage to accept the call. Will you accept the call? Will you unpack for the journey?