Tag Archives: God’s call

Fear and Joy

Easter
April 16, 2017

Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:1-10

Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’ –Matthew 28:7-10

Fear and joy are an interesting combination of reactions. These two emotions come together in anticipation of something happening that is more wondrous than can be imagined. How do we respond when the unimaginable appears before our very eyes?

God calls us to be and do things beyond our human expectations. I was in college when the Broadway show, Man of La Mancha opened and I saw it in my senior year 1968-69 as it traveled across the country. Remember the world was falling apart in 1968. The Vietnam War was ablaze, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, and Robert Kennedy was assassinated on June 6. Hope was in short supply among my generation. And then I am introduced to a song, titled The Quest that put in prospective for me the call God made to all of us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I have been a pragmatic optimist ever since.

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star*

So it was with fear and joy that the women raced from the tomb to deliver the message that Jesus was alive and ran smack into him on the way. The truth is he is waiting for us on the track as we run the race he has called us to make. As bad as things may seem, faith, hope, and love can overcome any barriers in our way. Jesus is calling, let’s go.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for the gift of Jesus Christ, thank you for his mercy and his grace, and thank you for his strength when we experience fear spiced with joy. Amen.

*From The Quest See at http://www.reelclassics.com/Actors/O’Toole/impossibledream-lyrics.htm

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

Hush, hush, somebody’s callin’ my name

Water running to the seaEpiphany
Celebration of God
Manifested in the World
January 13, 2015

 Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20)
The Lord called again, ‘Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call, my son; lie down again.’ Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” ’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

 Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’  — 1 Samuel 3:6-10

There is a traditional African American hymn that captures well the plight of the young Samuel to whom the Lord had not yet been revealed.

Hush, hush, somebody’s callin’ my name,
Hush, hush, somebody’s callin’ my name,
Hush, hush, somebody’s callin’ my name,
Oh my Lord Oh my Lord what shall I do,
What shall I do?

 There comes a point in each of our lives when we hear the invitation and it is our choice how to respond, but we never do it alone. One of the most remarkable aspects of creation to me is our interdependence. I envision it as a giant 3D operational puzzle where, when every piece is in its proper place, it runs as smoothly and accurately as the water flows to the sea. Of course, in our not yet perfected world even water has a tough time making it to the sea, but it never stops trying. Sometimes it carves out new paths over more welcoming land circumventing whatever is standing in its way.

Samuel was like that new land. He was someone, who when the Lord was made known to him, listened and responded. Jesus too was a new way toward God’s great kingdom and he passed the job to his disciples leaving them and us with the power of the Advocate. The synergy of this oneness with the guidance of the Holy Spirit is unstoppable. The tasks now is in our hands.

Prayer: Lord, make us path clearers not stumbling blocks. You have given us ears to hear, help us now to listen for your call. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Labor of Love

labor of loveLiving in the Spirit
Light a Candle for Children
October 16, 2014

 Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

 We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of people we proved to be among you for your sake.— 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5

What is your labor of love? The Greek word translated “love” in this scripture is Agape, which is often described as God’s love. Agape is based in the word “prefer”. Thus Agape is the act of doing what God prefers. Our calling in Christ is to do what God prefers. Our love for God is expressed in our honoring of what God prefers. Since God created us, I cannot help but believe, that we were each created by God to be a part of God’s kingdom and that when we find the thing that God is calling us to do we will find not only what God prefers but it will be exactly what we each prefer and our source of greatest joy. Jesus described it as the pearl of great price. (Matthew 13: 45-46)

What is your labor of love regarding children? Is it volunteering in a neonatal ward at a hospital, coaching soccer, taking a turn teaching in the children’s nursery at your church, tutoring a child in school, organizing activities for children, advocating for the rights of children, being a teacher or a pediatrician, being a big brother or big sister, regularly and faithfully provided financial support for programs that help children or???

God never sends us on a journey of service alone. We are equipped with God’s power through the Holy Spirit. Let us all examine our lives to determine what we are doing for the well-being of children in our world today. Ask the Lord, if God is calling you to do something more or better. Once you have found God’s preference that is also your preference, never let it go. It is a precious gift.

 Oklahoma Fact: In 2011, 576 Youth resided in juvenile detention, correctional and/or residential facilities*

Prayer: O Lord, my God, help me to find your preference for my life that is also my preference and fill me with the Holy Spirit so that that I can fully do what you are calling me to do. Amen.

*http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/42-youth-residing-in-juvenile-detention-correctional-and-or-residential-facilities?loc=38&loct=2#detailed/2/38/false/867,133,18,17,14/any/319,320

 All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.