Are there Bigger and Smaller Calls? Are some Calls More Important than others?
Of course, we need to spend a moment thinking about what it means to Be Called. For us, in its simplest form, a Call is a nudge or pull by God toward some specific work that in some way shares Love or creates Light in the world. Well, maybe that is not so simple.
We think it is important for all of us to broaden our idea of call a bit. In the churches we grew up in, we mainly heard about people being "Called to the Ministry" or "Called to the Mission Field" or "Called to Work With the Poor", etc. Being Called by God meant huge things...big changes...grand sacrifices, etc.
But are all Calls huge?
When we look at the stories found in scripture we see all sorts of Calls. We see all sorts of people that are Called to do all sorts of things to share the Love and Light of God with the world.
In this week's scriptures we see a wide variety Calls being experienced and lived out. Let's look at some.
In Isaiah we see an unusual scene being played out. Isaiah is having a vision and in this vision he is Called by God to deliver a difficult message. Isaiah's initial response is one to which we can relate. Isaiah protests that he is unclean and he is among those unclean. We have experienced times (and we suspect you have, too) when we don't feel adequate or skilled or good enough for what is placed before us. But Isaiah is assured he can do this - in fact, he is called out as one to address those around him. Have you ever had that sense of call that you were to do something pretty bold amidst a whole group that you counted as friends and peers? Perhaps felt called to speak a truth among close friends? This passage ends with words that have become familiar to us in a popular hymn, "Here I am, Lord...is it I?" Isaiah moves past his doubt to say, ok, here I am. Send me. Do we feel called to that same response? Is there a choice?
In Psalm 138 the tables are turned a bit. We see a Psalmist who appears to be completely committed to a life of worshiping God, and in his confidence he calls on God when he is in a difficult space. And when God reaches out and answers him, that further increases his confidence in (and commitment to) God. We were reminded when reading this of the things we'd often like to ask of God when facing a tough spot.
In Paul's letter to the followers of Jesus in Corinth, we find Paul living out his Call. The message of this particular passage is important because it is another example of him telling his own story of how he got to where he is and what he is doing. But while he is doing that, he is living out his Call...which is to share the message of Jesus with others.
In Luke we can see a wide variety of Calls in one short passage. Jesus is living out his Call by going to the lake to look for disciples. These soon-to-be disciples are actually living out their Call by being fishermen (this can be understood as a Call because it provides others with food). And then, as the scene plays out we see Jesus Calling these fishermen to a different life. And they dropped their nets and followed. What bravery. What bravery? Have you felt called specifically to shift gears like that at any point?
There are many calls - to be a good parent, to feed the hungry, to speak to a co-worker who seems overwhelmed, to build homes for the homeless, to tutor, to sit with a dying friend, to bake brownies for the new family down the block, to pick up trash along the road, to fight for just systems. It makes us a little dizzy. How about you?
Place your hands on our lives
and use our skills, our gifts and even our deficits
to shed light and hope and faith
in dark and lonely places
in warm and sensitive places
in overcrowded, undernourished places -
places that confront us
sometimes without our awareness
© matt & laura norvell 2010 www.settingourstones.org
we want to share this with you and hope you'll share with the world; we simply ask that you let people know where you found these words. May Grace & Peace be with you.