Today’s readings are about being called and being sent. The first reading strikes me as being about the “big call” – the one that recognizes our gifts and talents, often called forth or affirmed by the Christian community, and shapes the particular way we are sent into the world. I think of marriages that affirm our love for each another and our call to be a spouse, a mother, a father. I think of commencements where graduates are recognized for their knowledge and ability and sent to use their gifts to make our world a more just and peaceful place. The Gospel reading invites me to consider my daily, ordinary call to “believe in Jesus Christ and the One who sent him”– a call that begins at baptism but usually has no other parties, celebrations or recognition to accompany it.
The clarity of the call, the willingness of those called forth and the ability to act immediately are not things we are familiar with. Understanding my own calling – and receiving the grace to respond – has come gradually throughout my life, on a twisted and convoluted journey, often with a great deal of struggle. This seems to be the way it is for many of my friends. Maybe if we lived in a less individualistic culture we would have a clearer sense of our gifts and calling earlier in life? Perhaps have greater ability to take risks or more quickly respond, having a more secure sense of our place in community? Maybe not.
Some folks remember the moment they became a “believer” and accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. They have a detailed memory of leaving the darkness of sin and meaninglessness and coming into the light of grace and purposefulness. As important as this moment is, it is only the beginning. Each day’s events challenge me, moment by moment, to be a believer in Christ and the One who sent him. In the midst of illness and too many burdens, I choose hope; when others are recognized and I feel slighted, I choose to celebrate their accomplishments; when I am misunderstood and maligned, I choose patience and peace; each day I encounter people deserving of judgment but much more worthy of my compassion. Each day I receive many, many opportunities to ask for God’s grace to live in the light of Christ rather than in the darkness of the demands of my ego. It is in these moment by moment choices - great acts of belief and faith that are disguised as small and insignificant -- that we reflect the light of Christ.
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