Samuel 3:10 NIVUK
The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’
Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’
John 1:45-46 NIVUK
Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and
about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’
‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked.
‘Come and see,’ said Philip.
Excerpt from the Methodist Covenant Prayer (modernised)
I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you…
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal…
Two of the lectionary readings this week are about calling. We have God calling Samuel in the night,
and Yeshua calling Phillip and Nathanael. These readings made me think not just of calling, but also
of commitment – just in time for the Covenant Services our churches are leading this month.
The words of the covenant prayer that we read at this time each year were written by John Wesley,
who certainly knew a thing or two about calling and commitment. There is something very uprooting
and unsettling about covenanting ourselves to God, who (I AM WHAT I AM, I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE) is as
much a movement as He is a personality.
As the worldwide church, the Body of Christ, we are very much a movement, too; a movement away
from the accepted norms of the world, away from judgement and greed and indulgence, toward
self-discipline, humility, love, and generosity. In each of us is reflected I AM and in all of us is reflected
I WILL BE.
Personal commitment is the foundation on which communal commitment is built; the body made up
of lesser parts, the church made up of individuals who each wrestle with their own calling.
The society in which we live exults the individual over the community, which is why we tend to
idolise great figures like Saint Paul, John Wesley, or Billy Graham. It’s easy, in this environment, to
look at those larger-than-life personalities and think, ‘I’m only me; I can’t do anything’.
Did you know that you are larger than life?
Did you know that the God who created the whole universe, from molecules to galaxies, has made
you His dwelling place because He loves you?
I spent far too much time wishing that I could speak or pray like so-and-so, sing like her-off-the-TV or
change lives like what’s-her-name.
I am a member of a Body that can do those things – that can speak and pray and sing and change the
world, and has, and will again.
My sister, how I love the feeling of your hand in mine. How I praise God, knowing that I cannot fall so
long as you’re holding onto me. You mean more to me than Saint Paul or John Wesley ever could,
because it’s you who smile at me every Sunday morning, when I hurtle through the church doors
stressed and ruffled. It’s you who spoke God’s name over my life. It’s you who loved me in His name.
This is our calling, and we fulfil it together.
Father God, King of the universe,
How You rejoice to see Your people living in unity!
Thank You so much that You drew us from the ends of the earth,
Into Your eternal embrace, made real in our lives in the arms of our siblings in Christ.
Thank You that we never face our futures alone,
But that You strengthen us to uphold one another,
And make our love as deep and real and earth-shattering
As the love You showed to us in Yeshua.
In the beautiful and powerful name of God,
The Holy Spirit who binds us together,
The Son who leads the way,
And the Father from Whom all things come and to Whom all things return,
We pray all blessings and strength on those You have chosen.
Madeleine Reed – Helen Kim Memorial Scholar