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The Man Said Come and See by The Rev. William E. Exner

                           “The Man Said, “Come and See”

Three great teachings from scripture this morning – a Sunday morning _ a post Primary, getting back to normal, actual snow on the ground in the winter in NH, Sunday morning.

   Three great teachings to nourish your spirit and reset your inner compass _ perfect garnish for Martin Luther King weekend in the greater culture in which we live out our lives.

THE FIRST TEACHING is about God’s call to individual souls, to yours and to mine. We are first and foremost spiritual beings; our soul IS the core of our being.  And in the Hebrew scripture appointed for our guidance this Sunday we recall how it took young Samuel 4 wake up calls that night in the temple until he figured out that it wasn’t his mentor Eli or his family or his church or subconscious that was calling him, it was God … and God was gently wakening him spiritually by name.

   God knows you by name – at your core.  God knows us and calls us because God needs us not just to awaken and see the light in our lives, but to pick up that light and move forward with it into the future, leading others like a beckon toward a safe harbor and new day.

   God keeps calling to you until you finally figure it out and reply, “Speak Lord, your servant hears.”  We’re not here to serve ourselves, but our God.”

THE SECOND TEACHING is an ethical imperative from the earliest Christian communities under  St. Paul’s leadership. It is one of my personal ethical guideposts wherein the earliest Christians shared these words, “All things may be lawful, but not all things are beneficial.”  In other words, just because something is legal doesn’t always make it right.”    For example, it’s not illegal to eat and drink and smoke too much but it’s sure not beneficial to you or the people around you.   Or, as St. Paul drilled down a little deeper with references to paying for sex, and the practice of too many adults who seem to move from one partner or boyfriend or girlfriend to the next, such things may not be illegal in many places but they are not beneficial and moreover such things are disrespectful of ourselves and others.

  I love St. Paul’s words, “Do you not know that your body is a temple for God’s spirit of life and love to dwell?”  Respect yourself, your relationships, your approach to living and your neighbor. I mean it’s perfectly legal for Warren Buffet to pay less in taxes than his secretary or building janitor, but that doesn’t make it right. We could go on and on with such examples personal and corporate in our time.

  THE THIRD TEACHING IS JESUS’ response to the seekers in his day, a time of great uncertainty – a time when people were having a hard time identifying just where God might be found in their lives.

  Recall from the Gospel reading how Philip, one young seeker got excited about what he’d heard about this young rabbi Jesus of Nazareth so he asked his buddy Nathaniel, also a seeker, if he knew about Jesus.  To which Nathaniel responded with one of the all time great lines in scripture (and one of the most ironical and humorous) “Can anything GOOD come out of Nazareth? – That rat hole of a town?    YET what was Jesus’ response but “Come and See.  Come and See.  _ You gotta be willing to get up and take a fresh look. You need to be willing to do what is right, not just what is allowable. We all need to listen for God’s call, God’s voice – the vox dei gently offering to guide our way to wholeness, to good and faithful service to God and neighbor – to children and grannies – to pray with rich and poor – to care for and respect ourselves as temple for God’s loving spirit.

  As Jesus said, ‘Come and see’ where this spiritual path takes you. For, as he promised Nathaniel and Philip, so is God’s promise for you, “Very truly you will see greater things – wonderful things as heaven and earth embrace more and more.

  It’s like my hero William Temple said around the turn of the 20th century, “The Christian concept of the persons as members of the family of God forbids the notion the Freedom may be used for self interest. Freedom must be viewed as a gift rich with interdependence within the harmony of the whole.”

  Listen to God’s life affirming call, do what is beneficial for all, Come and See where that takes us. It’s the road of faith and promise.  Amen.