Thursday, January 22, 2009

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

The readings for Sunday, January 25, 2008:

First Reading: Jonah 3:1-5, 10

Psalm: Psalm 62:6-14 (Psalm 62:5-12 NRSV)

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

Gospel: Mark 1:14-20

It is interesting to read this Gospel in light of this week's events. I've had the stories of Martin Luther King and Barack Obama in my head for days now. And then, I read this week's Gospel, and again, I'm thinking of this idea of a call.

I'm interested that in this Gospel (as well as other stories we've had recently, like Mary's call in Advent), people don't seem to hesitate. They don't weigh the cost of discipleship. They don't create a spreadsheet that compares the pros and the cons.

No, God beckons, and these men leave their normal lives immediately.

Likewise, in the stories of Martin Luther King and Barack Obama, we see two men living fairly ordinary lives when they are called to be more and to do more. It made me wonder about my own life, what calls I've received, what calls I've neglected, what calls I've followed. It has made me wonder about other people's lives and the surprising turns they've taken.

Our culture seems to love these stories of the call that cannot be ignored, the call that launches people on to great things. But often, a call is a niggling feeling that one has for years. Maybe we take little baby steps towards that call. Or maybe we try to ignore it until we can't anymore, and we explode into interesting new directions. Or maybe we decided we'd rather have a life of comfort and familiarity, and we turn away from our call.

The good news is that God continues to call us anyway. No matter how many times we reject God and God's hopes for us, God comes back to see if we're interested.

God has great visions for us. But even if we can't rise to those grand plans, God will entice us with smaller parts of the larger vision. And then, years later, we look up, amazed at how our lives' trajectories have changed.

What is God calling you to do? And if you're not comfortable with the larger plan, are there smaller bits you can do right now?

Maybe you're not ready to go back to school, but you could take a class or two. Maybe you can't leave your job, but you could try something different through volunteer work. Maybe you can't solve the larger social justice issue that keeps you up at night, but you could write a letter or educate your fellow citizens.

We are all so much greater than we know. Christ came to us to show us what is possible in a human life--and so much is possible. What part in this great human drama were you born to play?

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