It's for you - Reflections 2-8-19

Texts for Sunday February 10, 2019
Fifth Sunday of Epiphany

Isaiah 6:1-8
Psalm 138
1 Cor 15:1-11
Luke 5:1-11

Three of the texts for this Sunday refer to a time God called someone to serve/follow.

A “typical” call scenario in the Bible goes like this: 1) God is manifest (word of the season!) to the person; 2) The person is shocked to have God revealed, feels unworthy or unqualified, saying God you must be mistaken; 3) God says no mistake and gives a sign of reassurance; 4) the person receives a commission/call; 5) the person goes for it.

Seems pretty tidy, doesn’t it?  

First: These selected readings don’t necessarily name the consequences of the call. In the verses that follow this, we do hear that the call of the prophet is hard and everyone is going to hate you because what you tell them is really hard to hear. Peter won’t fully understand the consequences until Jesus’ death and resurrection, or even possibly until his own death. Because Paul had been “breathing threats and murder” about the followers of Jesus, he probably was clued into the consequences.

Second: Life isn't always tidy.

You can – or at least I can – make a case that I received a call at my baptism 30 days after I was born. God was present in the Word and the water. According to the family story, I did cry through most of the rite which I like to believe was my moment of unworthiness.  My reassurance was the cloud of witnesses surrounding me with God’s love as I was growing up in my little rural church in Payne’s Point Illinois. My call? To live among God’s holy people, to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper, to proclaim the good news of God in word and deed, to serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth, which, at various and different points along my life – confirmation classes, Luther League, Campus Ministry, Day Care provider, Map Librarian, Seminarian, Lay professional, Associate in Ministry and Deacon - I have managed to do, imperfectly.

I’m saying this has been a long process rather than a shining moment.  As I developed skills and tools of thought (put another way, received gifts of the Spirit), God expanded the call, made it a bit more specific along the way, although never rigid. And never with absolute clarity or detail.

One quick example. 
I served 13 years in a congregation who offered sabbaticals for 7 years of service. I had one after 7 years and so was going to qualify for a second one. God nudged/I felt it was time to move on from there but not necessarily out of ministry. At that time there were two options:  another congregation or interview for an open campus ministry position. I asked God for guidance. My “answer” from God? “Oh, I can work with either one”. Seriously.

God calls us to life in God’s love. We often fret way too much about the details. And, truthfully, isn't that a dodge sometimes to pretend that we don’t know what is asked of us. We wonder what challenge it may bring and that's scary. We wonder what change it will bring and that's scary. We are afraid we'll fail. God knows we are imperfect but with God’s love we are perfect for the call. 

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245