In the early years of our marriage, we were living in Saskatoon, and my husband and I were running a small career consulting business. We didn’t see ourselves doing that work long-term but it was a way to make a living, as my husband had left his ministry as a priest in the Roman Catholic church, and I was completing my B.Ed. studies. We had a young son, a faith community and a circle of friends,  but were not particularly settled in Saskatoon. We were, in many ways, in ‘liminal time’. As we sat in church one Sunday waiting for the service to begin, someone we knew only slightly came up to Grant and said “Can you stay behind after the service? I have some information that could change your life!” The information was that a man in Victoria who was entering seminary for the Roman Catholic priesthood in Saskatoon was selling his counselling practice in Victoria and wanted it to go to a person of faith. When this woman saw Grant, she felt compelled to go and tell him about this opportunity. Two days later we flew to Victoria, met the owner of the practice and made the decision to move to Victoria. I share this story because as I look back on it (and even at the time it happened) we both felt it was a call from God and we were willing, eager even, to answer that call, believing that there was more to this than first appeared. This decision had long-term implications that we couldn’t have imagined.

When we hear the story of Jesus calling the first apostles, I think we sometimes interpret the words too narrowly as a call to church ministry. Regardless of who we are, how old we are, the circumstances of our lives, I think we are all trying to become our most authentic selves, the people God has created us to be. That growing into ourselves seems to happen in the “follow me” moments of our lives.

What are some of the “follow me” moments of your life? When have you dropped your net, stepped out of the boat and walked away from old man Zebedee.

What if “Follow me” is Jesus’ invitation to every one of us to step into the fullness of our life? What if it’s about becoming more authentically ourselves, living with integrity, and discovering our truest self? Maybe every time we act in such a way that our life seems to fit and our words and decisions reflect who we really are, we are answering Jesus’ call to follow him. Have you ever had the feeling that you just had to do something even though you didn’t exactly know where it would take you or what would happen? It didn’t just feel right. It felt necessary. Maybe that’s how Simon and Andrew, and James and John felt.

How crazy is it when two people look at each other and say, “You’re the one. I don’t know what will happen next week, in a year, or twenty years from now but I am willing to go find out with you. You want to get married? You want to make a life together? That’s a “follow me” moment. Or think about when we attend the funeral liturgy of a loved one; and, in the midst of tears and pain, in the longing to have that one back, we somehow know that life has changed, not ended and even at the grave we make our song, “Alleluia.” How crazy is that? And yet it’s another “follow me” moment. Have you ever looked at your life and wondered what it was all about, faced a truth about yourself, longed for something new, or wanted a different way of living and being? And then you made changes, life giving changes that helped you to grow? That’s a “follow me” moment.

Sometimes the “follow me” moments of life take us to beautiful places like Victoria, but not always. Sometimes they take us to places we never wanted to go or to circumstances we never wanted to face. Sometimes they are public moments for everyone to see and other times they are moments known only to God and us. They can be as adventurous as leaving everything behind and starting over in a new place or as ordinary as giving to a person in need, going home to our spouse, keeping a promise, extending a kindness. Each of these moments, in whatever form they come, can take us more deeply into ourselves and ultimately connect us with the holy. The “follow me” moments of life are less about where are going or what we are doing, and more about who we are becoming.

They touch us deeply and speak to our heart. So much so that Simon and Andrew were willing to drop their nets and walk away, and James and John were willing to get out of the boat and leave their father Zebedee. How crazy is that? What are the moments in your life that have touched you so deeply and spoken so directly to your heart that you couldn’t do anything but get up and go? You had to follow that calling. It was real and authentic for you and your life.

These moments are not once in a life-time opportunities. They present themselves again and again throughout our lives. “Follow me” is the ever-present and ongoing call of Jesus to every one of us. So let me ask you this. What is the “follow me” moment for you today, right now, in the current circumstances of your life?

“Follow me” moments seem to have a common thread. They ask us to let go, to leave behind, to walk away. Isn’t that what Simon and Andrew and James and John did? We never get anywhere new unless we are willing to leave where we are. We can never hold anything different unless we’re willing to drop what’s already in our hands. That means letting go of our nets, getting out of our boats, and walking away from current security.

What are the nets in your life? The things that entangle you? Those things that capture and imprison you? What are the little boats that contain your life and keep it small? The ones that give you an illusion of security and stability? The ones that are overly familiar and comfortable and keep you sailing the same old waters of life?

I’m always amazed at how Simon and Andrew and James and John don’t say a word. They don’t ask a single question. Where are we going? What will we do? How long will we be gone? What should we take? They don’t ask any of those questions. Those were not their concerns. They just get up and go. I think they were more concerned about who they would become than the logistics of the trip.

In our parish of St. Matthias, we are facing together one of these “follow-me” moments. We are anxious, insecure, afraid, angry, even because we still don’t know what the future holds. And in this place, in this time, in these circumstances, Jesus says to us today “follow me”. Will we drop our nets? Will we get out of the boat?

The promise of Christ is that if we are willing to do that, we will step into the kingdom, into the fullness of life, into our truest and most authentic self. That’s what I want for you. It is, I think, what God wants for every one of us.  Amen.