"Following a Path"
- Outside the Desert Retreat House -
I am very fortunate to have found someone out here who I can really call upon when we have work to be done on our desert home. I rarely have to call a plumber or an electrician or even an appliance repairman. I just call upon one person who truly fits the bill, "Jack of all trades." He has done everything for us from repairing our air conditioning to laying bathroom tile, fixing broken plumbing and refinishing our kitchen chairs.
The thing about this "master craftsman" is that he never shows up alone. Whenever he comes to work on any project, regardless of how small or how large, he aways brings along a few apprentices who come along and watch what he does in order to learn how to do it themselves.
My "master craftsman" was here just a few days ago along with two young apprentices. The one fellow pointed to the "master" and told me, "I have learned so much by hanging out with this guy." When I heard this, I immediately thought that this was probably something the disciples of Jesus (as well as the disciples of the Buddha) might have once said, "We have learned so much by hanging out with this guy."
When I read the stories of Jesus found in the gospels I discover that one of the very first things Jesus did when he began his ministry was to gather "disciples" around him -these disciples were essentially his apprentices. He doesn't sit them down in a classroom to lecture them and rarely ever preaches them a sermon, he just asks them to "hang out with him," to accompany him on his travels around the region. In fact most of the gospel stories are stories about Jesus on the road walking along with his apprentices, showing them the "way" so that they might see what he does and then go and do the same.
The apprentices watch the master as he embraces little children, lifts up the poor, feeds the hungry and heals the sick. As they walk along the road with him they see that no one is ever cast away, everyone who comes upon the path is always welcomed with open arms- even pagans and gentiles and those who were told that no one else wants them.
Then at the end of his journey, Jesus tells his apprentices that they are now ready to be masters themselves - to go out and continue that work he had begun, the work they had learned to do so well by "hanging out" with Jesus along the way.
Yesterday I came across this observation on a Facebook post:
When I read the Bible I count 87 times when Jesus tells his disciples,
There wasn't one time when he ever told them,
Tomorrow morning when Sunday comes along, millions of Christians from all over the globe will go out to some sort of church; and in sometimes elaborate ceremonies, they will sing hymns of praise to worship Jesus as the heavenly king.
As I see it, it's way easier to worship Jesus than it is to follow him.