Christ began to call me to ordained ministry eleven years before I answered. Even when I did, it was not a straight or certain path. As I prepared to preach my trial sermon that was to be submitted to the Board of Ministry, I had a conversation with God. Well, it was me yelling at God in denial of that call, with no response. However, later that day, God’s response was so clear and definitive that I could not deny it. My acceptance of that divine invitation changed the trajectory of my life forever, and the subsequent growth changed me in ways I could never have imagined.
Kudos to those who, like Isaiah, hear and accept God’s call immediately. But for most of the people with whom I have had a conversation on the subject there was definite reluctance to make the seemingly all-or-nothing commitment required by Christ’s call.
Peter models the way we use our lives to avoid making the changes that the divine invitation (or demand) requires. It is interesting that both Peter and Isaiah protest their worth to be recipients of the grace that accompanied the call. Both say they are sinful. But then, is that not everyone’s situation? Clearly, sinlessness cannot be a requirement for doing the work of God, or else no one would be worthy of being a proclaimer of the good news of Christ. The acceptance of the divine call brings grace that enables and empowers faithful proclamation of the good news.
Christ, our Savior, you alone make us worthy to proclaim your gospel. Grant us strength, hope, and power to serve you faithfully and with joy. Amen.
The theme of calling is continued in this week’s readings. Isaiah has a vision of God on the throne and is terrified because he knows that he is unworthy; yet he is being called by God. The psalmist, traditionally David, praises God for having a purpose for his life and bringing it to completion. Paul echoes Isaiah’s sentiments of his own unworthiness to the Corinthians. While assuring his readers of the reality of Christ’s bodily resurrection, Paul recognizes that he preaches only by the grace of God. When Jesus is calling his disciples, Simon Peter recognizes him as the Lord and cowers because he feels unworthy—much like the prophet Isaiah had done. These readings teach us that God’s call is based not on our worthiness but on our willingness.
Read Isaiah 6:1-13. When have you heard a difficult call from God? How did you come to finally say, “Here I am; send me”?
Read Psalm 138. How have you seen God uplift the lowly and the humble? How have these experiences changed the way you live out your faith?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. How does your life witness to Christ’s resurrection?
Read Luke 5:1-11. How has Christ called you? Whether or not you feel worthy to the call, Christ wants you to follow.
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