"Jesus called the disciples to follow him together."
—From Ch. 18a ("Nicknamed"), Jesus Journey
In the small town where I grew up, acquiring a nickname was the ultimate sign that you were “in” with the in-crowd. I would look up to the older, cooler kids and long for that acceptance—I wanted to be known and well-liked. During my years of playing high school sports, I finally got my nickname.
Those years were the first time I felt the deeply human craving to belong. To be known, named, and liked. I imagine that Jesus’ disciples felt that craving, too, and it’s so heartening to think about Jesus (I can’t help but think of him with a smirk on his face) referring to some of his disciples by a nickname, affectionate and playful.
They, too, must have felt the relief of acceptance—of knowing that they were dear and loved by their friend and teacher.
It wasn’t until I moved to East Boston (thirteen years ago!), rekindled my faith journey, and met and married my husband that my need for belonging changed. I stopped searching for people to impress and instead settled in to my new life as a wife and daughter of the Heavenly Father.
I was happy in these roles, but there was something missing—friends who would meet me and love me right where I was. I remember praying for friends who would walk with me on my journey from non-practicing, skeptical Catholic to renewed and redeemed follower of Christ...
God, as he tends to do, placed me smack dab in the middle of a quirky little neighborhood and surrounded me with the most unlikely yet completely perfect group of friends. This group has coalesced into Eastie Ekklesia, a home church...but so much more. We’ve raised babies together, joyed and grieved together, and journeyed together in our life of faith.
The thing that most struck me about chapter eighteen in Jesus Journey is the simple line, “Jesus called the disciples to follow him together." The fact that he didn’t just choose one perfect person to be his disciple is such a glimpse into the person of Jesus. Instead, he carefully crafted the improbable, diverse group and called them to “dream and scheme" together.
It is much the same in our own improbable group who gathers on Sunday afternoons to worship, catch-up with each other, and yes, even dream and scheme together. In those special gatherings, it isn’t hard to see the immense value of a group of people who serve you as teacher, cheerleader, listener, sounding board and, most importantly, friend.
Today's guest post is by Ally Simons: Ally lives in East Boston with her other half, Mike, and two small humans, Willa Hope (3) and Miles Grove (nearly 1). She spends her days pushing swings, doing art projects, and going on adventures with her littles. Outside of being a mama, Ally is also a preschool teacher, and continues to be involved with advocating for accessible, enriching early education for all.
Photo credits: Chelsea Hudson