I think I would have liked him too.
The quality of being “incapable of deceit” is pretty attractive.
And I like his sense of humour: “Jesus from Nazareth” Bartholomew asks before adding “Can anything good come from that place!”
It’s clear that Jesus has a sense of humour too and I imagine him throwing his head back with deep and loud laughter at the cheeky question before tossing back the invitation: “Come and see!”
Bartholomew is clearly captivated by Jesus who speaks about opening a highway between heaven and earth, bridging the distance between our earthly lives and the abundance we seek.
“Come and see” invites Jesus.
Hear that invitation personally today: Jesus speaking directly to you, “come and see!”
Just over a week ago I was privileged to spend an hour with 150 parents of children who are preparing for First Communion in one of our Christchurch city parishes.
These parents’ sessions have become one of my favourite occupations in recent years. Most of the parents are aged from late 20’s to 40’s and the majority would say that they don’t feel too connected with the church. But the fact that they are presenting their children for First Communion is a sign of their faith. They are accepting an invitation to come and see, and they’re following another invitation of Jesus to bring their children to meet him. (Mt 19:14)
In a conversation with a few parents on the day, and in some emails since, their faith is evident, and the connection that many of them feel with Jesus is strong and real.
We have to admit that the church has not always been a good communicator of the availability, attractiveness and power of life in relationship with Jesus who is God-with-us, the God who has opened the highway between heaven and earth and who offers full resolution of any barriers between God and humanity.
To highlight the personal nature of the invitation we need to remember that Jesus is wanting to encounter us personally here and now, and while our imperfection is a problem for us, it’s no problem for Jesus at all.
So I want to say to Jesus at times, i’m not sure that I have the courage or humility to come and see you… but please, come and see me anytime.
The communication of this reality is the prime purpose of the church. It is helpful for us to consider the challenge: have the people left the church, or has the church left the people?
Of course the answer is both.
And I’m grateful to the parents last week who reminded me that the church is much larger and more diverse than we might think on a Sunday morning.
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