Blogging Towards Sunday February 7th
Stories about our vocation to the mission we have as the people of God is what dominates the texts for Sunday. Isaiah is called to serve as prophet, not to tell the future, but to speak God's word for the present, to give a different perspective to those around him. His response is one of availability "here I am" to be used for God and to part from his past into and towards a new or emerging future "send me."
Luke tells his version of the miraculous fish-catch encounter as one of vocation of the first disciples. Jesus comes to them, in their terms and on their turf to invite them to step out, to set their boats towards deeper waters, beyond the safety of the shoreline, to cast their nets in unfamiliar ways. They're called to reprioritize their life, leaving behind the abundant catch of fish for the risk and potential of the unknown future of following after Jesus. They're encouraged to try again, to despite their potential disgust, despair or disappointment with their lack of catching anything until then, to try again.
In an age in which we're so focused on the survival of the church, this story of vocation - to be fishers of people - not cogs in a system - is quite a challenge. In a culture in which we're struggling with the complexity of pluralism and yearning for meaning beyond the simplistic one offered us on the altar of consumerism, it is terrifying to consider that maybe our vocation is to leave behind what we know, to make a rupture with our past, in order to discover, receive and embrace a future that we can't quite imagine or can put our finger on.
Vocation comes from the Latin "vocare: to call", a reminder that in inviting us to leave everything we know to discover new life by following him, he's not talking about a job description, job application or job fair, but rather a calling, an impulse, a pull, a push, an uneasy feeling in our stomach that we just can't ignore or leave alone...a nudge to step out, push off, dare something different, hoping for something deeper than we've known until now. How is God calling us today: you as a person of faith in a post-Christian world, us as the church in a decreasing-church time, us as creation intended to be in relationship with our maker?