As I sit down to put together some words for this week’s “Lessons from the Book of Matthew” I do so from around the other side of the globe. Two weeks into a three week journey I find myself looking out a hotel room window at the city of Jerusalem, Israel. My journeys have taken me from the Southern region of Europe in Greece, Crete, Turkey, Cypress and now Israel. I hope to share more over the next several months in future “Lessons”. I will not fully be able to digest everything I have seen and experienced until I get home and let it all sink in. I have visited the places that Paul visited during the early stages of the church, walked in the footsteps of Jesus in the cities of Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee and Jerusalem. I have stood and prayed at the place where Jesus started his public ministry, where he gave us the Beatitudes, where he ate the Last Supper, where he prayed his last night, where he was crucified, died and was buried.
As Jesus walked along the shore of the Lake Galilee, he saw two brothers who were fishermen, Simon (called Peter) and his brother Andrew, catching fish in the lake with a net. Jesus said to them, “Come with me, and I will teach you the catch men.” At once, they left their nets and went with him. Matthew 4:18-20
In the middle of the lake the captain shut off the motor and we sat in silence for a time to take in the moment. As I looked over the railing of the boat I silently watched the wake of the boat as we slowed and gently drifted. The wake went farther than my eye could see and gently merged with the other ripples and waves. It occurred to me that our lives are in many ways like the wake of the boat…All of the words we speak and the actions we make fan out from us spreading and wider and wider path. The calling of the first of the twelve apostles began a wake that spread the Gospel into the world as we see and hear of it today.
A quick glance at a dictionary gave me the several meanings of the word wake. One of them was the description above. Another that caught my attention was this:
verb, waked or woke, waked or wok•en, wak•ing, noun
–verb (used without object)
1. to become roused from sleep; awake; awaken; waken (often fol. by up ).
2. to become roused from a tranquil or inactive state; awaken; waken: to wake from one’s daydreams.
3. to become cognizant or aware of something; awaken; waken: to wake to the true situation.
As I watched the wake of the boat I think that this last definition came into focus a little more. We can all get a little complacent and stagnant in our lives. By being in this place, the Holy Land of Israel I can testify that I have been “awakened” again.
I don’t believe for a second that Matthew has been put into our lives by pure chance. I wept as I had a chance to video conference with my family and Matthew signed “Dad” and “I love you” when brought to the computer. Sarah Anne now walks by the computer at home and says “hi” to it in the oft chance that I might be there. I miss Hannah and Megan and cannot wait to share with them a renewed alive bible experience. And mostly, I will soon be able to hold my wife and wish her a happy 19th wedding Anniversary in person after being separated on our special day.