February- April ‘17 issue
“Come and See”
Right at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, as recorded by St John, we find Jesus, not explaining everything, not setting out his program, not even trying to persuade people to follow him. No, to two people wanting to catch up with him, to find out about him, he simply says, “Come and see”. And they did go and see, and in turn said the same to others, “Come and see”. Famous names, Andrew, Peter, Philip. That’s how it all began. I guess Jesus knew, that seeing what he did, hearing what he said, would take time. They needed to see Jesus living out what he was about, and in time that would draw them to be the deepest of his followers, some of them going in the end, to the death for him.
Much is being said and written about the importance of relationships in both drawing people to follow Christ, and to sustaining them in their Christian way of life. Not surprising really. Deep friendships, long-term relationships, marriages, all come about through spending time seeing what each other is about!
Research among young people tells us that there is a deep hunger for genuine relationships – and they’re not easily found through a screen! Young people want churches to be places where they are listened to, time is taken with, and they can really contribute. Older people want to feel welcomed, listened to, given time, to contribute. Lonely people want to feel welcomed…… you get the idea!! Those are perhaps normal human needs. But people can also then begin to understand that the love of Jesus, his understanding of us as human beings, his calling on our lives, really is an amazing thing. It even changes our understanding of our identity – as loved by our Father in heaven.
People quite often say to me, having seen what we are like as Christians here at Ascension, “We really love what you do here, the sense of welcome and community and so on.” And I say, “I’m glad, but do you realize why we do what we do? It is because of a deep love of Jesus Christ, and an acceptance of his love for us.” Some people then say, yes, I know, but I just can’t believe what you believe. One person even said, yes, I know and I’m jealous! (but still can’t believe what you believe!).
Well, so far so good, at least we have got to know each other a bit. But one thing is clear to me, unless we say to people, young, older, lonely ….whoever… “Come and see” we won’t get even that far. And I believe that in the end, some will say, “You know what. I do want to believe too. Tell me more” – and find they can and do!
So if you’re reading this and a Christian already, please just say to people “Come and see” – to Sunday worship yes, or whatever other events we are doing. It’s not much to say, and you are in good company with Jesus himself who started out with people in just that way! And if you’re not a Christian, well I say “Come and see!!” There are many, many pictures and myths in the air as to who Jesus is and what Christians are. Why not come and see for yourself? You may have completely the wrong idea!
Rev Robert Pimm