Piscine Patel, the Indian boy in Yann Martel’s novel Life of Pi, tells his story of the sinking of the Japanese cargo ship, and his subsequent survival at sea, to two officials from the Japanese Ministry of Transport. They are sceptical, and so he tells them another story – one that is far less happy. He then asks them which story they prefer, and they admit to choosing the first story. Pi thanks them and says “and so it goes with God”. I use this as a way of pointing to John’s description of Jesus calling disciples.
John tells an entirely different story to the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke). These Gospels describe Jesus calling the following disciples - in order - as Peter, Andrew, James and John. But John’s Gospel tells of Andrew, Peter, Philip and Nathanael. And quite frankly (like the Japanese officials in Pi) I prefer John’s version, because it recognises space for doubt, and scepticism, is being a Jesus-follower. Jesus welcomes Nathanael, not because of his faith, but in spite of his doubts. All too often we who follow Jesus, deny our doubts – as if this will make them go away. Be comforted in the knowledge that God welcomes us, questions and all: “and so it goes with God”.
Second Sunday after Epiphany“Come follow me”
(Scripture reference page 59 A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants)