Tag Archives: God’s calling

Saint Matthias

rubens_apostel_mattias_grtA High Calling of God

Today we read about an apostolic calling of God that could almost seem like an accident:

Saint Matthias was chosen to be an apostle under unusual circumstances. Following the ascension of Jesus, the disciples (who numbered about one hundred and twenty) assembled to elect a replacement for Judas. They nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas and Matthias. Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias. (Acts 1:23-26)

Obviously Jesus did not directly call Matthias as one of the twelve. Matthias must have been one of the one hundred and twenty disciples waiting in Jerusalem as Jesus had commanded before his ascension. He was waiting on God. A servant of God is one who waits on God. Waiting could mean anticipating, but it could also mean serving. Perhaps for the Christian disciple the word has both meaning..

Matthias was on position to receive a high calling. We may be in a position of service in our church or community. Then suddenly, God may call us into a higher place of service. Will we be ready?

A calling from God is a high honor. Jesus reminds us that we did not choose Him. He chose us:

You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.   (John 15:16)

His calling is not about a place of privilege. It is about a place of continual growth in Him. Only then are we able to exercise our authority in Christ. The Apostle Paul makes this very clear:

This one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. Only let us hold fast to what we have attained.   (Philippians 3:13-16)

Are we ready for a heavenly call of God?

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Filed under Epiphany, homily, Jesus, lectionary, liturgical preaching, liturgy, preaching, Revised Common Lectionary, sermon, sermon preparation, Year A

Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A

d65ea00f2df44724c8a6a0b73458387fAnswering the Call

What does it take to answer the call of God? Obviously we must first hear the call. Peter, Andrew, James, and John heard the call from Jesus himself. We read from today’s Gospel:

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.   (Matthew 4:18-22)

Have we heard a call from God on our lives? If so, then we must choose to respond to that call. Not hearing a call might mean not wanting to respond to that call. Why would anyone want to respond to a call that might totally disrupt their lives?

The ministry of Jesus Christ was and is disruptive. For those who see this world as a very dark place this disruption is good news:

The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
    on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation,
    you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
    as with joy at the harvest,
    as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden,
    and the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor,
    you have broken as on the day of Midian.   (Isaiah 9:2-4)

How do we see this world? How does this present world compare to a world that we might be able to imagine or desire? The psalmist seeks a place that is entirely foreign to this world:

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom then shall I fear?
the Lord is the strength of my life;
of whom then shall I be afraid?

One thing have I asked of the Lord;
one thing I seek;
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life;

To behold the fair beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.   (Psalm 27:1, 5-6)

When we hear God’s call we are then offered choices. God is continually calling us. Our lives become a series of choices. Because of the courageous choices of the early disciples of Christ we have a glorious path to follow. What will be our path and our example for those who follow after us?

The Season of the Epiphany is a time of examine choices. It offers us turns in the road. One turn may lead to greater light while the other may lead to a retreat into greater darkness. We often do not chose the right path because we fear the unknown that may confront us. The psalmist writes:

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom then shall I fear?
the Lord is the strength of my life;
of whom then shall I be afraid?   (Psalm 27:1)

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Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A

christmasephipany3Children Called by God

Young children often have an awareness of God. The souls of these children have come to the earth directly from the very presence of God. The great Prophet Isaiah spoke about his understanding of God’s call on his life:

The Lord called me before I was born,
while I was in my mother’s womb he named me.

He made my mouth like a sharp sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;

he made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me away.   (Isaiah 49:1-2)

Was Isaiah an exception?

The psalmist had an understanding of who he was in God:

In the roll of the book it is written concerning me:
‘I love to do your will, O my God;
your law is deep in my heart.”‘   (Psalm 40:9)

Was the psalmist an exception? Are we not all children of God?

The dangers we face in life as we grow up are the distractions of this world. Children of God, however, do not lose their desire to know God. That was the case for two disciples of John the Baptist. We read in today’s Gospel:

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.”   (John 1:35-39)

What can we determine from this passage? First is that the two disciples were curious to know who Jesus was. Secondly, when they called Jesus “Rabbi” they indicated that they knew he could show them something. And lastly, they were interested enough to follow Jesus immediately to find out more about him.

Were both of these two disciples an exception? Perhaps. They were certainly not so much paralyzed by the things of this world.

Jesus said:

Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God aa little child will never enter it.”   (Mark 10:15)

What does Jesus mean? Perhaps for us to understand this saying we must return to what it was like for us when we were young children. Were we curious about things? Were we ever thinking about God and wondering about God? Unless we skipped directly to adulthood the answer was no doubt yes, at least for a season.

The Season of the Epiphany is potentially that season for us again. God is still calling us unto himself. He is still saying to us: “Come and see.” Are we willing, for a moment, to drop everything and answer his call?

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