Fifth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 8), Year C

At KC, we talk a lot about Call.

We talk about being Called to ministries, Called to help others, Called to clean up, Called to lead a class, Called to be a part of a Care Group, etc.

In this week's lectionary readings, we see a couple of interesting examples of the Calls of different individuals sort of bumping up against one another.

In the story from 2 Kings we see Elijah and Elisha together right before Elijah is about to be taken up to heaven. In fact, Elijah apparently knows he has been Called to heaven and seems to be preparing for that. And so he wants to say his goodbyes to Elisha and leave in in one place so he (Elijah) can go ahead on his own. But it turns out Elisha is his own man of God and seems to have his own Calling in this scene. He essentially tells Elijah that he has been Called to not leave Elijah's side. Now this goes on and on and eventually Elijah literally goes up in a Blaze of Glory. But isn't it interesting to watch how two folks have to work their relationship out when they both feel Called to things that are a little contrary to one another?

What happens if you and I both feel Called to two different things that seem to point in different directions?

And then in Luke's account of the life of Jesus, we see that Jesus has been Called to head toward Jerusalem. In that journey toward Jerusalem we see that there were some Samaritans that did not feel Called to welcome him, which made the disciples feel Called to command fire to consume the Samaritans. Along the way, Jesus Calls a guy to follow him, but the guy feels Called to bury his father.

Can a person have competing Calls within him/herself? Is there a hierarchy of Calls? Do some Calls trump other Calls? Can we claim that a Call has been misinterpreted, or is that part of the discernment process?

All of this gets further complicated by our commitment to community. Especially when the community relies on Call to get things done. In Paul's letter to the Galatians, he talks about our common call to love one another. It would seem important then to consider our Call in light of that. How does our Call contribute to the world by providing love to another? And when our Calls collide, which inevitably they do, how do we adjust and respect one another.

The Psalmist weighs in as well. "I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me." How interesting that the Lord's counsel and the heart's instruction are two separate events.

let me hear your word
and see the path you lay out for me.
And let me see the web of paths
Your Kingdom vision creates
for all of creation.
The composite view is breathtaking
and mighty.
My path is but one in many.
Help me be humble
but confident
as I step out toward Kingdom.

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