I read a lot. I have read all different types of books, each at different parts of my life and for different reasons. Some I read to increase my knowledge. Others I read to relax my brain, and still others I read to help process emotions. Then I also read to know what is going on in the world, which often leads me back to needing to relax my brain. As a child and teenager, my favorite books were mysteries. I loved trying to figure out what was going to happen next. But as I have gotten a bit older, I find that I don’t enjoy the unknown so much. I don’t like surprises and particularly when I read I find the surprise ending to be disappointing more often than not. I have found that as I read I might flip to the end and read that first and then decide if the book is worth the time to read.
Surprises make me nervous. I like things to be predictable. There is comfort in the predictable. I can be prepared for the predictable. But life is anything but predictable. The world is anything but predictable and further still the future is the greatest surprise that awaits us all. I have always said that if I were to acquire any super power it would be the power to see into the future. I like to know what is coming at me: good or bad. This is why I will even read spoilers to some of my favorite television shows. I like to prepare myself for what is coming.
Yet our scriptures tell us that with life and faith this can’t be. We are asked to trust. Our Psalmist for today reminds us that with God all things are possible so we must place our lives into his capable hands. Christ would later expand upon this idea that to trust in the Lord is to be watchful, or aware, of how God is working and to trust that he will work through us to bring about his plans. We need to continuously search for God without giving up hope. We search for God in three ways: worship, religious habit, and willingness to learn. By acting through life in these three ways we build up our trust in God. We become acquainted with God’s ways and God’s work, and his call upon our lives and communities becomes more evident to us even though we can never see into the future, even though we are uncertain as to the struggles we might have to face and endure in our faith journeys.
Today’s gospel lesson is a favorite of mine. I love the way that Christ walks into Galilee, an area of Israel that housed more of the working class peoples and not the religious elite, and searched there for his disciples. Discipleship was not going to be easy. In Hebrew tradition, to be a disciple of any rabbi meant that one would have to give up years of their life. One would have learned from the rabbi not just from his words and verbal teachings but also from his actions and how he lived into what he taught. This is what is meant by being called. God calls every single one of us to faith, to work, towards a relationship with him. He calls every single one of us to be his disciples to learn from his words and from his actions. He calls us to use all of our senses when it comes to living into his word and to trust where he calls us to next, that last thing being perhaps the hardest because there are no certainties. John Buchanan, a retired Presbyterian Minister and former editor of The Century, observed, “The world and the church are changing more rapidly than we can comprehend … some things are the same: the world and the church desperately need our energy, imagination, passion, impatience, intelligence, and love … one of the great biblical themes is that God calls … all of us to walk into the future without knowing exactly where we are headed, to let go of old securities and certainties and trust the God who promises to be with us wherever we go”.
We need to understand the purpose of experiencing the call of Simon and Andrew as readers and listeners. We see that they were called by Christ and they immediately left everything behind to follow without knowing where they were going or what they were to be doing. They trusted in the call of Christ. They trusted in the promise. They trusted that God asked more of them than they were currently living. They left all and followed where Jesus lead. They learned at his feet, and they observed his actions. When they were ready, Christ had them each use their unique talents and gifts to further learn by practicing their faith and helping others. They made mistakes; they were at times chastised by Jesus for their lack of faith. But they learned about the extent that God called them to trust in his word, in his message, and in his care.
We are each called, as well. We are each given talents that are uniquely designed to enact God’s will in this world. We are called to trust in him enough to follow where he leads even when we are unsure of the future set before us, even when the possibilities of that future scare us. We are called as Andrew and Simon Peter were. We hear their call because it extends beyond the pages of our scripture and to each one of us. Christ said, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people”. We have been called to live into Christ’s message. We have been called to sit at his feet: to learn from his words, to learn from his actions, and to learn from the work that we do. In so doing, we are promised a closer relationship with God, the development of a deeper, more trusting faith, even if the future appears to be uncertain. So how has God called you and how will you answer that call?
 John Buchanan, 21st century.
 Matthew 4: 19, NRSV.
(Based on Psalm 27: 1, 4-9 and Matthew 4: 12-23)