Saturday, January 1, 2011

Homily 18: The Christian Imperative (as preached by an orthodox rebel)

"And a certain scribe came and said unto Him, 'Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.' And Jesus said unto him, 'The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.' And another of His disciples said unto Him, 'Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.' But Jesus said unto him, 'Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.'" Matt. 8:19-22

This is not about aestheticism nor cold and cruel detachment. This is about the one and only rule of Christianity: Christ first, Christ last, Christ always. Christianity is about following a Person, not adhering to a rulebook or code of ethics. It is true that this Person that we follow is the embodiment of the perfection of all the rules and codes, but that is why we follow Him: He will lead us where we could never go or find. He will lead us to that perfection. He will lead us to Himself.

"Follow me," says the God-man, and that is the imperative. Following Christ may very well lead you away from house and home, and it may not. It may sever all familial ties, or it may strengthen them. The point is that those issues become peripheral rather than central. The central issue is whether or not you are following Christ. That is the mainspring. All else becomes shadows, not because they have no importance whatsoever, but because their importance becomes secondary to the one needful thing, viz., Christ Himself. Follow Him, and "the dead [will] bury their dead," i.e., all other things will be handled (c.f. Matt. 6:33).

-Jon Vowell (c) 2011

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