Isaiah 6:1-8, (9-13)
The sense of call is usually associated with vocation: a call to some ministry recognized by the Church. Throughout Scripture, God calls people. God called Abraham to leave Mesopotamia and settle in a new land. God called Moses through the burning bush to become leader of the people, Israel. God called the boy Samuel to deliver a message to the old priest Eli and God called many prophets to deliver a message for their day. The call of God is central to Isaiah 6 and to Luke 5:1-11 although Jesus’ call to his disciples is more succinctly expressed in Mark 1:16-20. Today people still speak about having a call to ministry and congregations issue a call to a Minister. But some years ago, I heard Bishop Bruce Wilson say, “My vocation is to be a Christian, being a priest is the work that I do.” I don’t think he was really denying a sense of call to ministry, but he was emphasizing the primary call to faith and discipleship. The important thing to note is that God calls. Human beings are different from all other creatures in that they ‘hear’ a call to be better than they are, to go further than they have gone, to reach higher than they have done before. As a call, it can be responded to positively or denied. That is the thing about a call: it leaves the decision up to the hearer. But it is part of our Christian experience that God calls people, inviting them to live in a relationship of faith, hope and love with God. We hear that call coming through Jesus. That is the primary call. The call to service or ministry follows on from that. The Apostle Paul would put it that it is the call to live as part of God’s new creation. It is a call to live in that kind of awareness where God is present and seeking ever to lead us. Listen! Can you hear it?
- God’s call does not necessarily involve the hearing of a voice. Why then should it be called a call?
- The Uniting Church Marriage Service asks the couple, “Do you believe that God has blessed and guided you, and now calls you into marriage?” What does this question infer about God’s call?
- Who did God use in calling you into faith and into the Christian Church?
- Have you ever sensed a call to some specific ministry either inside or outside of the Church?