You Are Called
By the grace of the living God, everyone has a gift — something they alone give to the world and express through the communion of Christ’s church. And because everyone has a gift we can surmise that everyone in and of themselves is a gift. Without your being all in, without your recognizing that you are called by Jesus with purpose and giftedness, the body of Christ remains incomplete.
What does it mean to be called? Perhaps something like this. Jesus articulates God’s desire for relationship with created humanity. He comes and invites us into the deep, original state of belonging that God declares over us in our baptism. He reaches out to each of us in our lack, our false appearances we project to the world, our sense of inability or inadequacy, our grief, and lays claim to all of it so that we may come to the knowledge that we are known by God. Jesus lets nothing stand between people and God, and he does this by calling us to follow him into a new way of doing life.
The call to be Jesus’s disciple is first of all about being noticed and known by Jesus. When you are recognized and called by name, it indicates that you belong and that you matter. Jesus came to bring life and to call us into God’s wholeness, and for it he was despised, rejected, and killed. He surrendered all these things so that we may come to know God’s desire for us to be whole and to belong. “Come.” Jesus begins. “Come. Belong. Be. Be known.” But Jesus’s call also begs a response from us. Peter, Andrew, James, and John have to get out of the boat.  Martha has to stop being overcome by the expectations of others. Nathanael has to abandon his cynicism about the world. Matthew has to leave his tax booth. Mary Magdalene has to surrender the past life that held her identity hostage and kept her from God. “Come,” is only the beginning. The rest of Jesus’s call demands a response: “Come, follow me.
In the Scripture you just read, Jesus has just called Peter, Andrew, James, and John from their fishing nets to follow him. Jesus now pivots to reveal a bit about himself, about who these disciples are following, by thrusting them into the middle of a cosmic confrontation.
In the Gospels, Jesus’s confrontations with the demonic reveal the underlying struggle of the cosmos between chaos and order, between division and union, between violence and peace. Jesus’s action in these encounters embody the love with which God mends the brokenness of the world and breaks the resistance of people and powers that grate against the force of God’s love.
Being called, then, also draws us into God’s worldview — the way God sees and makes things new. Jesus embodies this vision through acts of mercy toward the poor and sick and broken, and through acts of resistance toward the powerful people and forces that create division and disparity among God’s people. Discipleship calls us to act on what we so easily say with our lips. It calls us to act in the world in ways that are congruent with the mercy and authority of God. It calls us not only to say but to live in clearly visible ways that Jesus Christ is Lord, not just of our lives, but of the cosmos.
Indeed, when Jesus calls us, he calls us as individuals because no one can answer your call but you. You can resist it, you can run from it, you can busy yourself with all manner of activity and distractions, but the call of Christ has been tailor-made for each person in the world. Only you can make the choice to be all-in for this journey. But the good news is that once you answer that call, once you surrender to it, God shows us that we’re not alone but surrounded by people who have place and purpose in this community called Church, woven together like the fabric of a quilt to make something beautiful in this world — an image of togetherness: different images, patterns, textures, colors. Perhaps it’s time for all of us to assess whether we’re all in. Are you following Jesus, or something or someone else?
Pastor Patrick
Last Published: September 29, 2020 7:54 PM
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