March 8


Lent 2A: Called

The Rev. Josephine Robertson
All Saints, Bellevue

One of the things I love about scripture is the lack of resume of basically every single person God calls.

With a few very rare exceptions the majority of the folks God calls are nobodies, and better yet, they are almost universally screw ups.

Today God calls Abram, a guy about which we know nothing (yet). We’re not told that he was particularly holy, or good before God picked him and gave him a call. We’re just told that when God called, he went. (And then proceeded to muck things up repeatedly to absolutely no one’s surprise.)

And I’m fascinated by the tenacity of God. The whole of Genesis up to this point has been one hell of a ride. We had the garden, and God’s disappointment there, we had Cain murdering Abel, and things sort of went down hill from there. And God responded over and over, in varying levels of frustration or anger.

But the story stayed the same. Betrayal, and failure, over and over again. Even Noah who was literally God’s “last best hope” for humanity messed up the minute he wasn’t kept busy.

And so we come to some guy, and his wife, and their household. Some guy who no one had ever heard of.

And God dropped into his life out of the blue and told him: I need you to go somewhere you’ve never been and I’ll tell you what to do when you get there. Oh, and our lectionary leaves out the little detail that Abram is 75 when this all happens.

So, if you thought you were old enough to relax, God might has other expectations.

God it seems has made a decision, a choice, and that choice is for relationship. Call stories like this are everywhere in scripture and they share some important features.

Usually the person called has done nothing to deserve the call.

The person called is given an invitation to something new.

There is no “or else” hanging over the invitation, we have to assume that invitation could be ignored or rejected, God isn’t twisting arms.

And the invitation always involves some kind of change or movement. From somewhere to somewhere; usually from the known, into the unknown. From the familiar to the new; the comfortable to the big stretch. And I think these call stories say a lot about God.

God it seems looks at ordinary people, complete with all their flaws and sees something different than we see. Where we might see ourselves as failed, or flawed, or not terribly special God clearly sees boundless potential. God looks at folks like Abram, with nothing much to suggest him, and thinks: founder of a whole people!

God looks at a nobody shepherd who hasn’t even grown his first beard yet and thinks: he’s gonna be my King!

Good looks at a foreign woman without family, and with only her Mother-in-law and things: linchpin in my whole plan.

When I ask people to be in leadership, or to try something new they often respond with: oh well I wouldn’t know how to do that, or I don’t have any experience, or I don’t have anything useful to add and I think: perfect you are exactly the person God wants!

And that’s the crux of it. You my dear, are just exactly who God wants. For what, that I couldn’t guess and maybe you can’t either.

But no matter how ordinary, or flawed, or just plain confused we might be: we, yes every one of us, is exactly who God has in mind for something.


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