“. . . Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him” (Luke 5:27-28).
Last week I played a video game with my son. I didn’t play long, and at first I didn’t play gladly. I’m not fond of video games and their power to captivate and dominate my child’s mental faculties. With the exception of the “Wii,” I typically regard video games as the enemy: the enemy of good reading and time spent outdoors and anything else that will contribute to the formation of a well-rounded college applicant.
I hate to admit it, but the game we played was impressive. (For any who might care, the game was “Lego Star Wars II” – great graphics!). While I warmed up quickly to the game, what has stayed with me since last week was the way my son coached me as we played. As we navigated the game’s various levels he gave me instruction and his language had a familiar ring to it.
“Dad, Follow me . . . . Do you want to learn how to use the force? . . . I’ll show you how.” At one point my Jedi figure was moving about aimlessly on the screen. John reached over, pushed the right buttons, put me back on track. I needed time to learn the game. By his instruction and example, my son showed me how. I guess for those few moments, sitting cross-legged on the basement floor, I was his disciple.
To be a disciple is to be a learner. And when it comes to the life of faith, what we are learning is the Jesus way. That will be the focus of these daily reflections in the weeks and months ahead. We’ll make our way through the gospel of Luke, watching how Jesus lived, learning the Jesus way. There are a couple of things that might help us as we get started.
First, the Jesus way doesn’t come naturally to any of us. The world we live in offers plenty of options to the Jesus way, and to be honest most of them look far more appealing. As we follow Jesus our steps will at times feel awkward and we’ll move about clumsily. This is part of it. The life of Jesus is formed in us, not downloaded.
Second, to learn the Jesus way we have to get in the game. We don’t adopt this way of life by having it explained to us, even if it is explained well. We don’t live this life by watching someone else live it, even if their example is stellar. Listening and watching are helpful. But the Jesus way was meant to be lived.
It’s interesting; church buildings are typically characterized by pews. But the Jesus way is never learned by taking a seat. To follow we get up, just like Levi. Where will this day take you? Jesus is already there. He invites you to join him. He’ll show you what comes next.
Lord Jesus, help us to be more like you. Not simply by our efforts at imitation, but by the gift of your grace and the working of your Spirit in us. Form your very life in the lives we will live this day. Amen.