The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.”
-John 1:43-50 (NRSV)
Lord of all hopefulness, as we celebrate the feast of your disciple Nathanael, also known as Bartholomew, we find ourselves repeating over and over his words of skepticism: Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Can anything good come out of our warring nations? Can anything good come out of our divided communities? Can anything good come out of our sinful hearts? But just as Nathanael was invited, you continue to extend an invitation to us: Come and see.
You call us to come and see Imani Williams, an African American woman who escorted white supremacists through a crowd of counter protestors in Boston, US. As KKK and Nazi groups gain traction and host rallies across the US, people like Imani express love and peace in an effort to deescalate tension and convince members of the hate groups of their shared humanity. We praise you, O God, for giving us hearts to reach out in love, voices to call out in advocacy, and hands to stretch out in reconciliation. Show us greater things than these as you bring your promised future of peace with justice into our world.
You call us to come and see individuals and organizations mobilizing to help the victims of the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain. As terrorists around the world spread fear and attempt to recruit and radicalize with their messages of hate, the caring efforts of groups like Airbnb, who are using an online tool to offer free housing for victims and their families, remind us that the love shown in acts of unity can drown out acts of hate and division. We praise you, O God, for giving us resources to use on behalf of others. Show us greater things that these as you bring your promised future of safety, security, and wholeness into our world.
You call us to come and see the wonder and mystery of your amazing creation in a solar eclipse. As natural disasters, like the earthquake in Ischia, Italy, and the mudslides in Lake Albert, DR Congo, increase in the wake of climate change and our abuse of the natural resources you’ve given us, the eclipse encourages us to pause and remember the beauty and fragility of this planet that you have placed into our care. We praise you, O God, for giving us minds to understand our world and voices to raise in defense of the environment. Show us greater things than these as you bring your promised future of restored creation into our world.
Ever-present God, we know that you see us always, and that, like Nathanael, we cannot hide our thoughts, words, or actions from you. Give us spirits to think with your mindfulness, give us voices to speak your message, and give us courage to act according to your will and for the sake of your world. May we respond to your call to come and see by faithfully following your Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.