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Good News for the Day, January 4, 2018
Christmas Weekday (207)

John the Baptizer was standing there, along with two people he had inspired, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he remarked, “See, the Lamb of God.” The two men heard what he had said and began to follow Jesus. Jesus turned around, saw them following him, and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (“Teacher” in their language), “where are you staying?” He told them, “Come on, and you will see.” So, they went, saw where he was staying, and they stayed there with him that day. It was mid- afternoon. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who had heard John and had followed Jesus. He first found his brother Simon to told him, “We have found the Messiah,” (the Christ, in our language). Then he brought Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon Johnson; you are going to be called ‘Rocky’ (Kephas)” (which is what Peter means). (John 1)

This whole first section of the Gospel of John emphasizes beginnings, starts, fresh ways, changes: “In the beginning was the word,” and, for the first time John reveals Jesus as Messiah to the world, the heavens get opened to a New Creation, and Simon gets his nickname Peter. (And it is the start of a New Year.)

Everything suggests a fresh start, a re-newing of yourself, a change out of your old skin into some rebirth and new life.

The willingness to look at yourself afresh can be scary—it is scary! You and I prefer comfortable ways—stay as a fisherman, stay anchored in a normal, healthy, happy way of life. You may hear your heart’s silent conscience reminding you of faults, suggesting new ways to see God’s world, offering truth to the powers that run your mind and heart. A conscientious soul suggests that in this area may lie denial and coward. In that area silence can be a lie. In these circumstances, rationalizing and deliberate blindness thwart what needs to be done, and sometimes love runs on its own—a motor instead of being the fresh rose it really is—love is a creative and self-sacrificing generosity that needs constant updating. Peace of soul may sleep its way into smugness. Goodness may become mere habit rather than discovery.

You and I are called to change our label, to become, like Peter—a rolling rock, a moving disciple being refreshed by challenges, growing from ignorance, now seeing, and acting on that sight of, the Messiah. You can choose afresh to live deliberately.

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