Celebrating the 25th anniversary of my ordination last Sunday has given me pause to reflect upon these years of my pastoral ministry. These past twenty five years have been richly blessed in many ways by a gracious God. While pastors serve God's people and the world with the Gospel in special and unique ways, all Christians are called to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in a life of committed, evangelical discipleship: loving and serving God and loving and serving our neighbor and the world in which we live. Yes, we daily fail to live up to our high calling as disciples of Christ, but thanks be to God for the abundant grace and forgiveness of our sins through Christ our Savior.
"Will You Come and Follow Me" by John Bell of the Iona Community in Scotland (b. 1949) is a hymn that speaks of commitment and discipleship and the call of Christ. The truth is that Christ's call changes the one being called even as the disciple changes the world by giving witness to the Savior by word and deed. The first four stanzas are the Savior's call and summons to discipleship. The final stanza is the Christian's response to Christ's call. The wonderful tune KELVINGROVE, to which the text is usually sung, is a traditional Scottish folk tune.
1. "Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown,
will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?"
2. "Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare,
should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer pray'r in you and you in me?"
3. "Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?
Will you set the pris'ners free and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean,
and do such as this unseen,
and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?"
4. "Will you love the you you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you've found
to reshape the world around,
through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?"
5. Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In your company I'll go
where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.