The Reading is from Matthew 4:18-23
At that time, as Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left their boat and their father, and followed him. And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.
We have now begun the Sundays after Pentecost, what I used to call ordinary time. We jump around a little in the Scriptures but this is a pretty good way to start out this time of year.
Jesus simply asked people to follow him. He did not offer riches or fancy music during the services of even a coffee hour after, he simply asked them to follow him. The Apostles left all, home, work, family, friends and set out to follow this guy that they knew nothing about. And in the end, all but one of these men gave their lives for the Church.
Recently I heard that 18% of unchurched people would attend church is someone just asked them to come to church. 18%, that is a pretty high number. We do not need to be great evangelists or even know much about the church we attend all we need to do is ask someone to come to church. Just walk up to someone and say follow me.
Why don’t we do this? Why don’t we ask people to come? We have been given a command in the Scripture to baptize the world, so why are we not out there doing that?
On Friday night I had the first of what I hope is a monthly gathering of Pub Theology. I have joined up with the minister from a near by church and we meet at the local watering hole for food, suds, and theology. We did not have a topic this time more of a get to know each other time. What we found out was there is far more that brings us together then separates us, we also found out that we are all in the same position, shrinking congregations. We decided that part of the reason for this is that by and large Christians are not an effective witness for ourselves.
I have said before that our best witness is the way we act outside of the church. How do you act when the last song has been sung and you walk out the doors of the church? Do you live the Gospel or do you just carry it?
Orthodoxy is not a religion, faith group, denomination, organization, etc., it is a lifestyle! Orthodoxy is supposed it influence everything we do. My question to all of us is, how does our faith influence us, or does it?
If we want to attract people to what we do we need to be attractive or people will not want to join. We Orthodox say we have the fullness of the faith, why then are people not flocking to us?