Day 29: Sabbath- Calling
I’ll never forget the first sermon I preached in seminary—strangely enough, because I never finished it.
I was in a preaching class, and my first assignment was to write and deliver the beginning of a sermon. I can’t remember the teacher’s reasoning, but I can remember that I was supposed to preach on the boy Samuel’s call from God (1 Samuel 3). At a time when the word of the Lord was rare and visions were not widespread, late one night in the temple, Samuel hears someone calling his name again and again and again. The old priest Eli finally realizes what’s going on, and he advises Samuel to say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” Sure enough, it is the Lord—and the Lord has a frightening message to deliver.
As with my sermon and with Samuel’s struggle to understand, we talk about “calling” in really incomplete and incomprehensible ways in the church. First off, we tend just to talk about “a call to ministry” as though it applies only to ordained pastors. This is silly: all of us are called to Christian ministry through our baptisms. And secondly, we don’t really talk about what that “call” sounds like—or rather, just how many ways it can sound. I’ve rarely if ever heard the unmistakable voice of God ringing in my ears, but I’ve definitely heard the voice of God in the voices of people both in and outside the church.
All I want to suggest to you is God has a calling for you. You may have already heard it. You may never have heard it. All of us need help hearing it. And this Lent, we remember that all of us are called to follow Christ on the road to Jerusalem. If you’ve never had a conversation about how God is calling in your life, please come talk to a pastor or a trusted friend in the church. That’s why we’re here.