A Frightening Privilege
Written by The Reverend Richard Lawson and The Reverend Sandy Webb
City of Soul: The Episcopal Service Corps in Memphis program directors
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there will my servant be also.
The disciples meet Jesus on the quiet shores of Galilee. Following Jesus is easy at Galilee, where he spends his time preaching and teaching and walking on the water. Discipleship means intellectual conversation and your fill of fish and bread.
Jerusalem is a very different place. Discipleship in Jerusalem means looking poverty square in the face. Discipleship means exorcising the world’s demons. Discipleship means standing in the gap between what is and what can be, demanding that the world live into its potential.
The hard part about following is that we don’t get to lead. When Jesus’ work is in Jerusalem, his servants cannot stay in Galilee. Discipleship is a frightening privilege: We get to walk with Jesus, but we have to go where he goes.
Episcopal Service Corps interns follow Jesus to Jerusalem. They leave behind the comforts of home and proclaim Good News in the parts of our country most devoid of light. They know that their spirits will be challenged and that their bodies will be worn, but they go anyway. So long as Jesus continues to love those that society would rather forget, these disciples will stand in solidarity with them. Where Jesus is, there must his servants be also: in the streets, in the schools, in the prisons, in the pews.
Galilee must have seemed very far away when the disciples were in Jerusalem, but their blessings were near at-hand. With every day they spent in the city, they were able to affect more transformation than they could have effected in a year at the lake. They were with Jesus, and he was with them, and they together were doing work of cosmic significance. Not a moment was lost, not one calorie burned in vain. God’s kingdom was being brought near.