Come and See
John the Baptist’s disciple, Andrew, is invited by Jesus to “Come and see”. We were reminded of this invitation as we began Advent this year with the celebration of St Andrew’s Day. It is an invitation to each of us as we journey through Advent, preparing to embrace once again the extraordinary gift of God’s self in the birth and life of Jesus. Extraordinary, yet ordinary: an event that over two millenia later we still struggle to find words and images that make full sense of it. Jesus’ words, “Come and see” remind us that it is not ultimately about words and finely tuned doctrines of faith, but about participation and immersion in the moment and in the relationship. “Come and see” is an invitation to explore, to experience, to know and to understand in a space beyond words and concepts, beyond theories and theologies, in the wonder created by birth and new life. It is about expectation, healing, and hope.
There are implications to accepting an invitation, especially one to “Come and see”, and especially if one responds with expectation. We respond out of our context, out of our desire for healing and wholeness, and out of our desire to make a difference. The New Zealand Prayer Book contains a wonderful Maori version of the Lord’s Prayer, which includes these words:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.
These words reflect something of the implications for those of us who seek to respond to Jesus’ invitation to “Come and see”, and for those whom we invite – as Andrew did Simon Peter – to join us in this exploration of relationship with the Creator, Restorer, and Sustainer of life. There is a deep desire in the common heart of humanity for wholeness, for life and relationships filled with peace and freedom, with justice. To “Come and see” is to be reminded that in God we are able to find the strength and vitality to participate in making this God-given longing a reality in our world, in the spaces in which we have influence and in the context of our daily relationships with family and friends, with colleagues and neighbours, with strangers.
And so may this Advent that flows into the Christmas Season and the New Year be one in which we find the willingness to “Come and see”, and the courage to invite others to join us in this journey of life and faith.