Robert's Ruminations

The thoughts of Revd. Robert, Minister for Emmanuel, Ilfracombe

United under Christ

One Sunday an advertisement appears in the newspapers. It was headed by pictures of a doctor, a lawyer, a musician and an army officer. Underneath was written in bold:

"A vocation. What if you don't have one?"

The advert continued:

"It was the first time I felt envious about anything," a young man told us recently. "I looked around the dining hall and realised with some pain that there were two sorts of people here: those who had vocations, and the rest of us who did not. The first group knew exactly where they wanted to go and how to get there. Their lives, I naively imagined, would be unswerving and purposeful, rich with certainty and fulfilment. "By contrast I felt muddled and irresolute. I found myself mentally trying on different jobs but, like second-hand clothes, none seemed to fit."

The advertisement was for recruitment to the army and it tries to kill off the idea that a young man who is uncertain has no place in the army. Uncertainty, it argues, is not feeble mindedness. After all, how can you commit yourself to something you know nothing about? The army, so the argument goes, will give this unsure young man time to make up his mind about the future. He will have time to discover if he really has what the recruiting officer calls "a vocation for the Army."

When Matthew writes of the call of the first disciples, there is no suggestion of any hesitation on the part of the four fishermen. Matthew does not tell us why they follow Jesus. His story is simple: Jesus calls them and they follow him. There is no hint about where they are going; there is no detailing of what discipleship will involve. Nothing is promised; nothing is signed. Matthew is clearly not interested in these questions; he is more concerned to show that the disciples are called by Jesus and how their discipleship requires the leaving of everything that occupied them until that moment.

Obviously things did not happen as abruptly as that. The disciples did not leave the security of their homes and jobs on the spur of the moment to follow a stranger they had never seen before. But go they did.

Sometimes, it is hard for us to see what the future holds and we are required to simply step out in faith and go. That’s not as easy as it sounds as our human nature tries to think about the bigger picture and consider the whys and the wherefores of our decisions. But stepping out with Christ comes with the certainty of not only His protection, but His unending presence on the journey we take with Him.

The disciples felt Jesus with them, even after His death and resurrection. They were able to go on and do great things in the name of Christ. So can we, if we are willing, truly be united under Christ and go and do great things ourselves.

All we have to do is make that initial commitment and go forward with Christ at our head and we will achieve that which He has planned for us.

Every blessing,


Vision of the future
Emmanuel Church 2016 Concert Programme


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Saturday, 23 March 2019

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