Vagabond: A. adj. 1. Of persons, etc: Roaming or wandering from place to place without settled habitation or home. OED.
I'm not sure that I've ever thought of Jesus as a vagabond before, but having just read William Willimon's excellent opening chapter in his book, Why Jesus? I clearly need to renew my thinking. Having described the essential characteristic of Jesus as portrayed in the gospels as someone who was constantly on the move and who never accepted the status quo, Willimon goes on to say,
Anyone who wants to meet Jesus, to understand or be with Jesus, must be willing to relocate..
And then speaking more personally, he says,
'Not only was he on the move but Jesus constantly invited everyone to join his journey. In my pastoral experience, Jesus holds little interest for people who are at ease with themselves here, now, in this place, living their lives as the world tells them, content as pigs in mud. Jesus tends to come to people where they are but rarely leaves them as they were. Conversion of thought and life, is part of the adventure of being loved by Jesus, of being invited to be his travelling companion'
So to my fellow believers I would want to say, are you 'travelling with Jesus' or have you got used to a settled existence, where all your beliefs are neatly settled and nothing much changes in your life from month to month, year to year? Come on, get following.
And to any of my skeptic, unbelieving friends, there's nothing boring about being a follower of Jesus. It's uncomfortable at times, and indeed the lifelong process of conversion is challenging often, but would I swap it for any other way? Nah, i'm glad to be a follower of the vagabond from Galiliee.