In the Lutheran church we talk a lot about callings. Martin Luther preached that everyone is called into the priesthood of believers, bearing witness to Jesus in all we say and do. Luther himself felt called both in preaching and as a parent. For us, too, the work we do in our homes, offices, churches, schools and communities forms our callings.
In February, our lectionary readings invite us to consider where and how God has called—and challenged—us. We hear the stories of Jeremiah, Isaiah and the fishermen. We consider how, sometimes, God’s call looks a lot like the voices and encouragement of friends and family. Other times, God’s call takes us to places and experiences that stretch our comfort zone. However or wherever God calls us, God is leading us to serve our neighbors.
Jeremiah, Isaiah, the fishermen, you and me. We’re all called. At times, we may echo Jeremiah’s refrain: Ah, Lord God! … I am only a boy (Jeremiah 1:6). Or we may answer confidently like Isaiah: Here am I; send me (Isaiah 6:8). Sometimes we may want to close our ears and put our heads under the pillow. Other times we’re invigorated and hopeful for the way we can serve God and the world. We may be in the boat with the fishermen called to cast down our nets and fish for not only fish but people (Luke 5:1-11). Sometimes we think there’s gotta be someone better qualified than us. Or we may follow along with the newly formed disciples, learning what it means to be followers of Jesus (Luke 6:17-26).
If there’s one thing we can glean from these ancient stories and our own, it’s this: God doesn’t stop calling God’s people. God doesn’t tire of shining light into this world.
God calls us because God loves us. God desires to use all our gifts to bring light into this world. Like a tender parent, God calls us beloved children and works ceaselessly to show us that love. God sees us as world-changing, light-bearing, hope-giving people living out our God-given vocation.
As we look ahead in the church season, Lent is on the horizon. Some years Lent begins in February. This year, however, we have the whole month of February to bask in the light and God’s call before we enter Lent’s wilderness—a time for deeper reflection, prayer and repentance.
We have a month to remember the light shining in the darkness. To be light for others. To know we are loved. To listen and to hear God’s voice: “Whom shall I send?” And to answer confidently: “Here am I, send me!”