There’s a unique song on Kyle Matthews’ Christmas album. I think it is the last song on there – if not, it should have been – and behind some killer piano licks, he talks about the days following Christmas. He reckons, as do I, that the days following Christmas are days meant for following Christ. We have spent a month or better getting to and from Bethlehem. Now what? In a word – FOLLOW.
Sunday morning marks the beginning of a new series simply entitled “Followers.” Historically the worship and preaching focus between Advent and Easter is on the life of Christ. The after-Easter part of the sermon cycle, the New Testament emphasis, is traditionally focused on the church. We have until the middle of April to get there. So between now and the great “getting up” morning, we are going to experience faith through the eyes of His first followers. There are a lot of them to pick from. We will pick a dozen and see how their stories inform, inspire, and imitate our own. I think you will be surprised by all there is to see here. You might meet some new New Testament friends, or get a new picture of some old ones. The best sermons emerge from and return to the best faith stories, both in the word and the world of those who follow today. I am one of the fortunate ones charged with finding and telling those stories and helping them find their way into and beyond the folks who listen as I love and lead.
At the end of the day, I find a lot of joy and fulfillment in being just what those guys were, and what my people design to be – that word again – a follower. Let’s see where he goes – and go there. Listen to what he says, and learn his ways. Hear what he commands, and obey. Embrace what he values, and align ourselves to it. Watch how he treats people, and do likewise. In this world, and into the next, there is no greater calling and no other way. Follow. Turn that verb into a noun and dare to let it define us – follower. A fellow walker in the way with lots to learn, ground to gain, and stories to tell. That’s what they were. On our best days, that’s who we are.
Join me for the journey. Bethlehem’s grotto is still visible in our rear-view mirror. And the empty tomb is yet a long way down the road. Between the two, we will make friends with those who encountered Christ along the way and chose to come along. Their lives were never the same. Given the choice and chance, I suppose that neither will ours. These are the days following Christmas. These are the days for following Christ. Was then. Is now. See you there.