Madeleine loves cell phones despite my husband and me trying to prevent her from using them at this young age. She already has figured out swiping and if I am not careful she will grab my phone hide behind the couch and swipe away all my notifications and then lock me out. She has gotten several gifts between her birthday and Christmas of toy cell phones which she loves. They light up and talk to her. She will often walk around the living room with the phone up to her ear saying “Hi! Dadadadada. Hi!” then she babbles on as if she is indeed having a real conversation.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to talk to God as easily as we are able to pick up the phone and have a conversation with friends and family? Would it be nice when we are lost and looking for direction in life to be able to pick up that phone and call God saying “Hey God what do you want me to do?” But sometimes communicating with God is a little more complicating. Sometimes determining how God is calling us to live can be difficult and time consuming. It takes prayer, meditation, careful thought, and purposeful listening. Today’s scriptures from the book of John are all about calling and responding to that call.
When we thinking of the idea of receiving a spiritual calling many of us might think about clergy specifically but in reality a calling happens for all people. We are all called to something, some kind of vocation that utilizes our care, our passions, and our talents. This might be in the form of a career or this might come in the form of volunteer work or other aspects of our lives. It is up to us to pray about those pulls in our lives and to see how God intends for us to use them.
In the book of John the first disciples were called from a group of John the Baptist followers. They were people looking for a calling; they were open to how God might be transforming their vocations and futures. So they could do something more meaningful with their lives than just fish the seas, to do more with their lives than what their families had been doing for generations. They wanted to do God’s work. They were not somehow special above all the others around. They were not for the most part highly educated. They were by all stretches of the imagination ordinary people. Yet with the call of Christ they recognized the work of God and were open to the possibilities that God was trying to do something great in the world and with their lives. They were open to a new vocational calling. They were open to trying new things in the name of discovering where God was leading them next.
Everyone is called. Everybody is talented, special, and has a unique purpose in God’s eyes. We just need to be open to discovering what that purpose is. We need to be open to trying new things in his name. In the process, we may discover new talents, new abilities, and new passions hitherto unknown to us. We may discover that there is still so much that God has planned for our lives. Brennan Manning, a 21st century American author, laicized priest, and public speaker says, “Everybody has a vocation to some form of life-work. However, behind that call (and deeper than any call), everybody has a vocation to be a person to be fully and deeply human in Christ Jesus”. This is where we start in connecting into that vocational call, into that divine presence inside each one of us. We just need to be fully and authentically human and vulnerable in our own right because it is through that humanity that we connect to one another. It is through that humanity that we begin to see, hear, and feel the pull to that vocation that God has called each of us to.
So go forth and search for the ways in which God is calling to each one of you in your lives. See where he is leading you next and have the courage of those earliest disciples to follow where Christ leads even if you know not where the destination lays. For we are each talented and gifted in such a way to have an effect on humanity and the world, we just need to determine how God plans to use those gifts. We may not be able to place a phone call directly to God to ask. But by living compassionately, by praying frequently, and by tuning in to the world around us then we will be able to see, hear, and feel God at work and learn where to go next in our individual spiritual journeys.
Remember the words from our scriptures this morning how Isaiah communicates the words of God to the people and to you and me, “I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth”. God intends his light to shine to all peoples through humanity, through us, through our actions in life, through our lives lived as examples to the world, through our care, our work, and the love that we share. So be the light of God, the light of Christ, by allowing God to work through you in this world. So search for God’s call, live fearlessly into that call, and let his light so shine through you that others may feel the light and call of God for themselves.
 Brennan Manning, 21st century American author, Lay priest, and public speaker.
 Isaiah 49: 6, RSV.
(Based on Isaiah 49: 1-7 and John 1: 29-42)