Ann M Smith reminds us that we need to show what God is like.
One can find out how to do almost anything on the internet. There is actually a site called exactly that. It offers information amongst other things on how to teach an old dog new tricks, service your car, cook, write a will, get a divorce, and - should you ever need to know - raise mealy worms. Now I have not checked out the information, but there are, of course no guarantees that what you might discover on such a website actually works.
In the gospel there is a very simple 'how to' about evangelism that gives a demonstration of what God calls us to do. Two of John's disciples overhear a conversation in which John the Baptist proclaims, 'Look! The Lamb of God!' It is enough to pique their curiosity. They follow Jesus. Jesus talks to them and finally invites them to see where he is staying. It is an invitation they immediately accept. But it does not stop there. Andrew, one of the two disciples, heads off to find his brother. He can hardly wait to share his experience.
What can we learn from these simple 'how to's? Many people are calling for a return to faith in God. They are reeling from the brokenness of the world and ask deep faith questions about life and about life to come.
It makes it a fruitful time for the Christian church, a time of opportunity and one in which we should have increasing relevance. And yet often we don't. We remain stuck in old ways of doing things. We should be reaching out to the seekers and the unchurched in our society and finding ways to meet their spiritual needs.
The gospel does not simply tell us that we are called to discipleship. It demonstrates it for us. It gives us a wonderful model to follow. The first thing, the very first thing that Andrew does when he is introduced to Jesus is to take his brother to see him. How do we make it natural to share our faith in our workplace and in our community?
What really counts is that Jesus Christ calls us to this tradition. Either we are in a terrible rut, or God is calling us to do something about it. We are called to discipleship, to share our faith, to have an impact on society but most of us just say that it is an impossible task. We become so immobilised by anger or fear or insecurity that we cannot do anything to bring about change. But surely if we are creative, we can do something to improve conditions.
But there is more to discipleship, isn't there? We need to show people what God is like. And truly it may not happen as it has in the past. People who have no memory of church or what impact faith can have in one's life will look for fulfillment in other ways. We may need to explore new ways of being church – fresh expressions of church – and it is possible we may discover that those fresh expressions of church are already happening here. Wherever we are.
The question still remains, how do we get across to people what God means in our lives? John knew Jesus because the Spirit remained on him. And that same Spirit is given to us. It remains with us, strengthening, guiding and leading us on to experience more and more of God. We in turn share it with others.
About your own call, you wouldn't be a part of the church if you weren't called. So know that you can make a difference and do something about it - whatever type of church, or fresh expression of church, you are in. Share with others what God is like, what God has done in your life. Live out your calling. And do not worry about how to do it.