Epiphany 3: Call & Response
The Collect for Epiphany 3 asks for grace so that we may:
- answer the call of Jesus Christ,
- proclaim the Good News of his salvation, and
- perceive the glory of his marvelous works.
So what is Jesus calling us to do?
In the Gospel reading, we have the familiar story of Jesus’ call to his fishermen disciples: “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” Before that, in the same passage, Jesus began to proclaim: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Both ideas are pretty amazing.
When Jesus calls to Simon, Andrew, James, and John, they respond by immediately leaving their boat and nets, business and family to follow Jesus. As one who has spent her life struggling with the question of vocation, I am always struck in this passage by the irresistible pull this call provoked. No question of weighing options, counting the costs, determining the safest route. Jesus called and they responded.
So, what about the other call?
When I hear the word “Repent” I invariably think of that familiar cartoon prophet. You know the one–long beard, white robe, carrying a big sign that says “Repent! The End is near!”
Only, in this case, it’s not the end. It’s the beginning.
The kingdom of heaven has come near.
The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.
For those who sat in the shadow of death, light has dawned.
The Lord is my light and my salvation.
This is the Good News we are called to proclaim–living new lives in the light, repenting of all the ways we have acquiesced to living in darkness. The kingdom of heaven is near. Even now. Even to us. In spite of all the gloom we see in this year of political strife, natural disasters, tragic stories on every side.
The Kingdom of heaven is near. Even now. Even to us. This is the Good News we are called to proclaim.
Thanks be to God.
Jan 26, 2020