For ConEd, we visit each other's churches and are expected to lead a worship service. My friend, Abby, did one on calling. After reading some passages on specific calls, she gave this homily:
Who are these people? The short answer is well, people. A strange mix of people actually. The first of these is a child, called by a god he did not know. Even though he was in the temple, this was voice that was unfamiliar. And it was a voice calling him to the priesthood, and it was not an easy call. It meant that he would denounce the family of the man who raised him. It meant that he would anoint Saul as king, and later condemn Saul when he visited the witch of Endor. But when God called, Samuel’s answer was, “Speak. I am listening.”
Then Mary, not much more than a child herself according to tradition, who sits in the presence of a divine messenger, utterly confused. Everything she knows says that what Gabriel speaks is not possible. And although she does protest, the angel answers her only once, before she replies, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be according to your word.” It was her answer to God’s call that allowed God to become human—human not as a divinely formed being like Adam, or something sprung forth fully born like the Greek gods, but human, born of a woman with the same pain and anguish as every child since creation.
And finally, three of the disciples. Peter, outspoken, devout, faithful, denying Peter was the one who fell down before Jesus, caught up in his own unworthiness. It can’t be me, Lord. It can’t be. I am full of sin. It seeps out my pores and haunts me in my dreams. It can’t be me. But it was, and when our Lord said to him again, “Come, you will fish for people,” Peter came, trusting that following this Savior would be enough.
We come here today as people who have answered a call, most likely with fear and hesitancy. Can we trust this man from Nazareth? Can we trust his words to be enough? Are we ready for this life of service?
No. I will say assuredly to everyone here, no, we are not ready. But we answered the call, hoping, trusting that it will be enough.
And so we come, answering the call to lift up holy hands in acts of worship and service to our exalted savior and his church.
I invite you now: Come to this center table and place your handprint within the cross. Your handprint will surely touch others and they must overlap if we are to all fit. That’s fine; no, that’s good. For we are not alone in this journey, but have been given friendships and colleagues and fellow travelers along this road to which Christ calls us. And when we are done, our hands will have formed the cross, an image of the Savior. Remember, it is this cross that must form us. Come, each of you.