The Church honours the life of St Bartholomew, known in scripture as Nathaniel. The evangelist Philip brings him to Jesus. Nathaniel is under the fig tree, perhaps resting and reading under the shade and protection from the hot sun. His response is typical of the Jews of his time – can anything good come out of Galilee? Jesus affirms this Jewish-ness and Nathaniel, in faith, affirms Jesus as the King of Israel.
The narrative we have in the gospel is typically a call narrative. There is a call or invitation to come and follow. There is a response on the part of the one called, usually a doubt, concern or rejection. There is a response and finally acceptance of the call. In this simple narrative, Philip seeks out Nathaniel and calls him. The response of Nathaniel seems derogatory and offensive. Philip makes the response valid, inviting Nathaniel to come and see. Then there is an acceptance on the part of Nathaniel, who makes the amazing acclamation of faith. Finally, on the part of Jesus there is mission statement. Legend has it that Bartholomew was skinned alive.
Jesus will call us in normal everyday circumstances. Not many of us have the spectacular lightshow or glowing neon lights. Jesus will speak to us in the ordinary. That is why it is so extraordinary. Notice that Bartholomew was simply sitting under the shade of a fig tree. This is a very normal every day activity –sitting, resting, reading! Sometimes, like Nathaniel we doubt the love of God in our life, or even his ability to call me – little old me! Isaiah tells us that Gods ways are not our ways nor are his thoughts our thoughts. The promise made to Nathaniel by Jesus is the same for us –we will see great things!
Let us be open to great things – which God wants to reveal to us. He comes to us in the ordinary circumstances of life. We only need eyes to see and ears to listen to his call on our life. Some think God only calls the religious, the holy to life in him. God’s call is for all and is irrevocable. He has a plan for every one of us. The life and calling of Nathaniel proves this to us. It would be a wonderful thing for Jesus to tell us that there is no deception, no guile. Let us be found by the Lord as Philip found Nathaniel, honest and open in following Jesus who loves us and has called us by name.

Have you found the Lord?

Lord, you know you and me have called me by name. Thank you for the call on my life to follow you. Amen