Acts 1: 12-17, 21-26 (NRSVA)
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred and twenty people) and said, 16 ‘Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17 for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.’
21 So one of the men who have accompanied us throughout the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.’ 23 So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed and said, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.’ 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.
Two years ago, I was feeling adventurous and went sailing for the first time down in the Solent. I have to say, I enjoyed most of it. For the majority of the trip the weather was glorious, the sea was calm and blue. It was a wonderful feeling when we got the sails down and the wind glided us through the water. I enjoyed the company of my companions. I learned how to steer and put the sails up and down. But the good time didn’t last.
I think it was the third night when the weather changed – it started to rain heavy, the wind was howling, and the sea was so choppy. It was so scary as we sailed back towards the marina! For it was hard, hard work trying to steer straight in the wind, changing the sails as they were being buffeted by the storm. Most of all it was hard to keep my nerve. Let me tell you I prayed hard!
And yes, I would go sailing again – if I was guaranteed good weather, if I was guaranteed calm seas, if I could sit back and just enjoy the view, let someone else do all the work! I’ll have another adventure as long as it is convenient and comfortable.
Sometimes I think we can want our relationship with Jesus to be like that – convenient and comfortable.
We say we are ready to follow him.
BUT DO WE?
DO WE REALLY?
For, to be a follower of Jesus means braving the storms. It means going to the hard and difficult places. It means trusting him fully and holding your nerve. And in the process, we are transformed. Transformed just like the first apostles. Ordinary people who had let Jesus down, who scattered and denied him but — transformed — came together, to heal and spread the Gospel. Ordinary people transformed to build and lead the church.
We find it so much easier to stay within the safe confines of our self-centeredness.
We are happy to close our eyes and our ears and pretend that we don’t see and hear each others’ pain.
Touch us with your love Lord
Change our hearts by your Grace
Transform our lives
So, we can transform the lives of others