The inauguration of Donald Trump looms large on the landscape today. Many in our country mourn the exit of Obama and live in fear of what Trump brings to the world. They see this as a day of protest. Others in our country celebrate the exit of Obama and see this as a day of celebration.
How can the same moment mean such divergent things for so many people?
I bring this historical moment into conversation with the text for this week, Luke 5:1-11, where we see Jesus speak to the crowd from the boat, perform a miracle of the great catch of fish, and call a group of professional fishermen to leave that for which they are paid to follow that for which they are made.
The Daily Reading
The conversation begins with the daily reading for today, 1 Kings 17:8-16. This is the story of Elijah and the widow in Zarephath. This is one of the stories that Jesus references in last week’s text. I made the claim, in the sermon, that Jesus used this story to remind the people of Nazareth that the promise of God is not exclusive to the nation of Israel, but that God desires to bless ALL nations and ALL people. This was not a popular idea and the people tried to kill Jesus for it.
So, I read that text to begin my quiet time, and then I began to read through some of the blogs that I follow. Here are two that really spoke to me, so I share them with you.
The Enduring Tradition
The first is Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation. He makes the argument that contemplative practices are the path to enduring wisdom and the solution for the damaging polarization of our nation today. He says,
Contemplation is a positive choosing of the deep, shining, and enduring divine mysteries that are hidden beneath the too-easy formulas. It is not fast-food religion, but slow and healthy nutrition. Contemplatives do not let the old get in the way of the new, or the new get in the way of the old. Like all religious geniuses, contemplatives reveal what the old was saying all along. I find much wisdom in what the contemporary, long-suffering poet Christian Wiman writes: “faith itself sometimes needs to be stripped of its social and historical encrustations and returned to its first, churchless incarnation in the human heart.”  The Perennial Tradition cannot be repressed and will always show up in unsuspecting places.
I encourage you to read the entire post.
The Second blog is one that I found through this post at RevGalBlogPals. I have not read Janet’s work before, but can tell that I resonate with it. She begins with an interview with Steve Harvey when he was invited to meet with Trump and Carson regarding urban renewal. Janet focuses on Harvey’s quote at about four minutes into the interview where he says, “your career is what you are paid for, and your calling is what you are made for.”
I watched the interview and was very encouraged by Harvey’s attitude. Here is an African-American man, a friend and supporter of Obama, who was willing to sit down and have a conversation with Trump. Harvey quoted Obama who told the country to get up from the computer screens, stop tweeting and start talking and listening to each other.
Janet challenges us:
Recognizing ‘that for which we are made’ and acting upon it always means something or a whole lot of somethings have to change. For ourselves, yes, and most likely for those closest to us. This was true for Jane Elliott. This is true for Steve Harvey. This was, is and will be true for all who heed the call to follow Jesus. Always. And so what does that mean? What might that mean for you? And how will you deal with it when it gets hard? For it surely will…
Janet goes on to explore our sense of calling: that for which we are made by God. I encourage you to read her post.
What is Your Calling?
I know that part of God’s calling on my life is to be a peace-maker. I watch as many clergy are tweeting about how proud they are they were just arrested as they protested the death penalty. Others are organizing marches to protest the inauguration. There is a place for peaceful protest, and I respect their calling. That is not mine. I resonate with the contemplative action that Rohr advocates and the deep listening that Harvey suggests.
What is your calling? How do you know?
It is my desire to help people learn how to slow down and listen deeply to what God is doing in this world and in the “other.” I have the privilege to be paid to do that for which I was made. I hope that I can follow more deeply into God’s calling this year.
How about you?