I’ll be blunt — very few of you have responded to my challenge to write out your call story and submit it to me.
Don’t think you’re hiding from me — I see you out there! I know you might think this is too challenging, but I want to persuade you to try anyway!
Come on, it’s fun!
Perhaps the reluctance to answer “The Call Project” comes from a sense that you haven’t actually been called by God. One person wrote me to say this very thing: “This is very difficult for me, because I don't think I have had a call to tell you about.”
Maybe, because you haven’t been knocked to the ground by a blinding light like Saul, or heard an audible voice from a burning bush like Moses, that you haven’t been called.
But I will restate what I said in the sermon two weeks ago — every Christian has a call. That is, in fact, what it means to be a Christian! It means to have received a mission from God, to be included in the story of what God is doing in the world. When you decide to follow Jesus, you are necessarily charting a different journey for yourself than you would have walked otherwise.
The life of faith is a journey into the heart of God, and the heart of God is full of love and compassion for the whole world. Or to put it in the words of Paul, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
If you have the heart of God and the mind of Christ, then you will be full of a love that breaks for the pain and anguish of the world. When you have that kind of love, you will be unable to carry on with business-as-usual, because business-as-usual for most of us is a life of wealth accumulation, personal and family security, and the pursuit of leisure. You will be unable to walk the streets of the city without seeing people through God’s eyes, and you will suddenly be able to see through the illusions and fantasies of modern life. You will be attuned to injustice and inequality. You will ache for people who have no hope.
And you will want to do something about it.
The whole point of the church is to gather folks who want to do something about the world’s condition in the name of Jesus Christ. That’s why Kessler Park UMC exists, that’s why the United Methodist Church exists, that’s why Christianity in its myriad forms and permutations exists.
I will repeat: every. single. one. of. you. has. a. call.
It may sound like a whisper to befriend unlovable people. It may be merely a hint of interest in a child with learning disabilities. It may be a vocational draw toward a job in the non-profit sector. It may even be to pursue theological studies for the sake of becoming a pastor.
If you haven’t heard the call yet, then all you have to do is get quiet enough to listen. If everyone is called, as I believe, then everyone has access to that call. God speaks. We have to learn to listen; we must develop the capacity to hear God.
Let me reissue my challenge — please write down your call story and send it to me so that I can share it with Eric. If you struggle with putting it into words, here’s a simple template to use, based on my sermon on May 12th:
“I was __________________________________________ (your situation before the call), when suddenly _________________________ (the call arrives), and now I ________________________ (your response).”
Give it a try — I know you can do it!