The Rev'd Robert Warren
Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.
The psalmist earnestly pleads with God to lead, inform and instruct him.
Some people change their minds a lot. Some people never change their minds.
Some people who never change their minds have a rugged set of opinions that they’ve come by honestly and which have stood the test of time. Good on them for not changing their minds.
Others – well, we’re still searching for our road in life and a few false starts and redefinitions are bound to come our way. Good on us for not being so stuck in our ways that we can’t change our minds.
A couple of years ago I had the occasion to walk along what is probably the very beach on the Sea of Galilee where Jesus called his disciples. The story has it that they were in their fishing boat with their old dad and were about their business – repairing nets and sorting lead weights - when Jesus spoke with them. They left their work and went with him.
The art of putting things in convincing words is called rhetoric. Years ago people knew the rules. It was important who the speaker was. It was important that the speaker knew who his audience was. But what he said - the germ of the message - was important too. Without the last of these three it’s possibly only manipulation.
In one of the first black-and-white silent movies to treat the Gospel stories, Jesus approaches fishermen who are casting their nets into the lake. He raises his hands in the air and you see his lips move. The fishermen immediately drop their nets and put their arms out – walking out of the lake toward Jesus more like zombies in Night of the Living Dead than people who have heard something convincing enough to make them change their course in life.
I don’t think it worked like that. I think that Jesus said something to them there on the lake shore which made sense. It would be a shame if we only heard what we had expected to hear. If there is no word out there capable of motivating us – no idea that could conceivably seize us then all we’ve got to hand is what we’ve always had.
That, it seems, would be a lonely state of affairs in a world where we are not alone and there's lots to learn.