Monday, August 23, 2010

Called, Shaken, Freed

Jeremiah, the boy, was called by God to prophesy to Israel. Hebrews reminds us that God is going to give things one more good shake so that all that remains is what cannot be shaken. In the gospel of Luke a woman who has been bent over, not able to straighten up at all, for 18 years is released from the prison her body had put her in.

Called, shaken, and freed are key words for us today. All of us have heard the Message that we are called, all of us, to be ministers to God’s children. Friends, I believe that we aren’t only called to be ministers but we are called to serve God’s purpose in the world in various ways. Not everyone who is called wants to answer the call. Many of us, like Jeremiah, think we aren’t equipped with the tools we need to do the work God calls on us to do. Our weak, feeble excuses don’t carry much weight. God, I’ve found out, does what he’s going to do. And if he calls us to a particular work, no excuse we give is going to sway God from what he’s called us to do. If he’s called us to work then he will equip us with everything we need to accomplish what God has planned.

Often when we realize that it’s God who’s calling us we get a little worried. We know if God calls then sooner or later we’re going to have to get started. Our comfortable world is shaken by what God calls us to do, sometimes. Once in a while our world is turned completely upside down and everything we’ve grown comfortable with changes. Not only is our world shaken but so are we. We’re not exactly accustomed to having our lives changed so drastically. God has an agenda, a timetable, a plan, and the time for Christ’s return, even though some would not like to think about that, is getting closer. When Jesus does come back things will really be shaken.

In the meantime here we are bound up by the things of the world. We are so bent over with the burdens of our lives that we can’t even see the signs that Jesus’ return is imminent. We have been bent over with this infirmity for so long that we don’t know that there is any other view than the one we see right in front of our toes. We’re almost like those ponies that are trotters with their blinders on. All they can see of the world is what’s right in front of them.

We’re not much different than those trotters. We’re not so very different than the woman Jesus healed. I wonder if she had become so used to her condition that she accepted it; it was normal for her. I wonder if those who met her every day were so used to seeing her that way that they never thought about what it must be like for her. It was just the way she was. They may have assumed it was a punishment from God for some sin she had committed.

Jesus knew better. He knew she didn’t deserve to be trapped in that prison for the rest of her life. And so he called her over to him. He told her she was free from her ailment. I don’t think any of us can imagine what joy she must have felt when Jesus laid his hands on her and she stood up straight, able to see people eye to eye. What joy must have filled her heart.

God calls us. God shakes our world. When he lays his hands on us, when his Spirit comes into our souls we are freed from the chains of sin that have kept us bent over all our lives.

That’s just one more reason to heed God’s call to us. When we answer his call we find new freedom. Yes, we might be fearful of what God is asking of us but when we accept his call we soon experience exhilaration, joy and a certain peace and it’s all because we’ve invited God’s Spirit inside.

So, good friends, have you heard God’s call? Have you been hesitating to answer? Are you afraid to be set free because it’s different from what you’ve been used to seeing? Is God shaking your world?

Friends, maybe it’s time for us to let God keep on shaking. Maybe it’s time for us to let go of those things which have us bent over. Friends, it’s time to let Jesus lay his hands on you and be healed.

He’s calling our names. He knows each of us intimately. He’s known us since before we were conceived. Sure our world will change. But friends, isn’t that really what our souls desire. Our souls have been leading us to Jesus. We’ve just been so bent over we couldn’t see him. Listen to his voice. Let him touch you. Let him shake up your world.

Then go out and let the Spirit lead you in a dance of joy as you go to serve those God places on your path of life.

Thanks be to God for his compassionate grace. Amen.

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