When I was in junior high school, I had the opportunity to take photography classes. Long before the days of digital photography, we had to develop film to produce an image on paper. Once we developed the film, we then transferred the images onto photo paper, which also had to be developed in special solutions. My favorite part of the whole process was putting the paper in the first tray, the developing solution, and watching the image form on a blank piece of photo paper. While I stood in the dark room over the tray of developing solution, the image would gradually take shape. It was like magic to me. Paul says at the end of this passage, “Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then we will see face to face” (tib). It’s as if we wait in the dark room for the image to appear. It isn’t completely clear yet; but the longer we stay immersed in God’s love, the clearer the image becomes.
Our response to God’s call changes us. Several of the passages this week speak of God’s presence from our birth. Paul brings it full circle by reminding us that we move toward maturity in God and with God. As we live out God’s call to love without ceasing, we better reflect the image of God. We emerge from the developing solution no longer an image of our imperfect selves but a perfect image of God.
Perfect and holy God, help me to reflect your image more and more each day as I seek to live out your calling in my life. Amen.
The readings from the Hebrew scriptures share a common theme of calling. Jeremiah is called at a young age to be a prophet. God knew and set apart Jeremiah even in the womb. The psalmist also expresses confidence in God’s call, because God knew him even before he was born. In the same way, God knows each one of us and has a plan for our lives that is not an afterthought. In this First Corinthians passage (often read at weddings), Paul speaks of love. But this love is not infatuation and is not based on emotion. It is intentional, strong, gritty, and unselfish. In Luke we see that many struggle with the fact that Jesus’ calling is also to serve the marginalized. Jesus reveals that God has a missional heart.
Read Jeremiah 1:4-10. What is God calling you to do? What excuses are you making to ignore your vocation?
Read Psalm 71:1-6. God promises not to make our lives easy or perfectly safe but to be with us when we face challenges and violence. In a world that seems increasingly violent, how do you find assurance of God’s continuous presence?
Read 1 Corinthians 13. God calls us to a vocation of love. How can you be more loving in your daily work or activities?
Read Luke 4:21-30. How do you see God’s call in those you know best? Do you accept or reject the call God has placed on their lives?
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