Romans 8: 28 – 39
When I was a girl, my brother and I had free reign to play outside. At dinnertime, my mother would call us: Kathryn… Paul… Sometime, if we knew it was going to be a particularly yummy dinner, we’d come right away. Sometimes, we’d ignore the call. Sometimes, it took repeated calling our attention.
When we become followers of Jesus, God makes a call on us. Yes, Christianity can be something into which we are born. Many, even most, in the UCA have been baptised as infants. But at some point, though, in our lives we have to decide if we will answer God’s call. Some of us, such as myself, have a particular calling to ordained ministry. However, all of us are, as Christians, disciples.
The Gospels show that disciples, in Jesus’ day, often began with a mixed understanding of what lay ahead. Yet, their response to Jesus’ call was instinctive. We are told, the first disciples simply heard the call, and followed Jesus (Matthew 4:18–22; Mark 1:16–20; Luke 5:1–11; John 1:35–51). They often messed up and they learned along the way. But one thing is clear. Jesus expected them to live differently. One way they would be known as Jesus’ disciples is by the love that they showed to others (John 13:35).
Being a disciple is not something to be done on our own, rather, we live out our calling with others. And, we are given a helpmate, the Holy Spirit, to sustain and empower us. The theme of our worship this week is: called as Christ’s disciples. Our text from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter eight begins with: “we know all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (8:28).
One thing I am certain of is that the risen Christ is with us as we live out our callings, even in the midst of challenges, setbacks or suffering. Regardless of circumstances, God is always doing something greater. As Paul wrote so long ago, to one struggling community: “I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (8:38-39).
Yours in Christ, Kathryn