Sunday, January 25, 2009

When to Start and other items

I managed to make it through the Diocese of Virginia Council in one piece. The delegates yesterday debated a series of resolutions and approved two that are somewhat contradictory. One resolution declares that same-sex relationships have "integrity and blessedness" and another resolution declares there is no consensus on the subject. Such is the Diocese of Virginia at the moment.

I caught a plane to San Francisco, and I will be attending the institution of Phil Brouchard as the new rector at All Souls in Berkeley, and checking in with my mother whose health is shaky.

Here is an item I like from Barbara Crafton's Geranium Farm that came in a couple of days ago and is about today's lessons:

When to Start

Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.
Mark 1:20

We usually see the calling of these fishermen in a distinctly miraculous light: Jesus walks by and people who've never seen him before in their lives drop everything and walk off with him. But what a minute -- where does it say they didn't know him?

It doesn't.

Galilee is not a crowded place now, and it was even less so then. I'll bet these guys knew each other. They'd probably grown up together. I'll bet they'd been talking about Jesus' mission in life for years, ever since they were little boys. And I'll bet this moment was the culmination of an argument that went back years: So what are you going to do with your life? Are you going to make a difference or are you just going to do what you've always done and die not knowing what you really stand for?

It says that their father had hired men with him. Two grown sons, and he has hired hands? I think he has them because they all know the two sons are on their way out of Galileee. This call is not a surprise. It's anything but sudden and mysterious. Jesus just walks by and points to the road. It's time, he says. And they leave together.

You've probably known for a long time what you're supposed to be doing, even if you've avoided facing it so far. Or maybe you're already doing it. Or maybe you're waiting for the time to be right. Your whole life has prepared you for your mission. Maybe it's time to begin.
Epiphany III, Year B
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm 62: 6-14
1 Corinthians 7: 29-31
Mark 1:14-20

1 comment:

Janice Dean said...


I'm catching up on your blog; hence, the very delayed comment.

This post haunts me. I seem to be hearing a lot of 'don't be too scared to following your calling' messages lately. I suspect that they are not being spread more than usual but that I am primed for them.

It is terrifying to be 24, not to have found anything in college that really excited you, know that the church and your faith is a huge part of your life, and yet not be confident of where and how you are supposed to do God's work.

I feel called to work with/for/in the church, but I feel strangely unsuited for the kind work I want to do. Undergrad for me was a painful exercise in the revelation of my own personal weaknesses, yet the work I feel drawn to do seems to be founded on these weak points. I have come to cherish and conscientiously nurture my own personal growth, even (and perhaps especially) if it is painful, but this is a recipe for growth that seems too frightening.

I think I am, as Barbara writes, waiting for the time to be right. I do not think now is the time, but how am I supposed to know? How do I distinguish between not feeling quite mature enough and creating excuses for myself? These, obviously, are not questions I expect you to answer for me. It just helps to be open about them. Somehow sharing one's fears makes them less scary.