Calling All Christians - A Sermon by Susan Mather

Calling All Christians - A Sermon by Susan Mather

 Let us pray: Dear Father, we thank you for the mercy of your welcome to us as we come to you in prayer. We would ask for new and renewed visions, that we may see beyond our horizons, and have a real sense of your will for us. Help us to realize the worth of all we do at work, at home and in fellowship together, and guide us into even greater service in your kingdom. Amen.

Listen! Did you hear that? No, really, listen! Did you hear something?

WAIT Did you hear God calling you?   Did you know that God is calling each and every one of us?   God is calling to us His Disciples to tell us that we are all Chosen to serve him and let us know what to do. He wants to open the door to communicate with us and he is trying all sorts of ways to get our attention.

How can we hear his Call?   We need tune our ears, adjust our eyes and open our hearts to awaken to his voice. Psalm 46:  Verse 10 says: “Be still and know that I am God” When we stop, look and truly listen, we will find ourselves in wonderment when we discern the voice of God and the hand of God actively involved in our lives and seeking a way to connect with us.   New Age Spiritualists like to define this voice and hand of God by using phrases such as “Divine Synchronicity”, “Divine Coincidence” or “Divine Intervention.”  Some don’t like to use the name of God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit. But Christians know that all of what seems to synchronize at the right time and in the right place, is not mere coincidence. It is God’s intervention in our lives.   Non- believers see the coincidences and say “Isn’t that ironic.” But if they would only go back over their lives and look for all the supposed coincidences and all of the imagined ironies they would be amazed to find a repeated pattern of God’s intervention in their lives that is so plentiful  … it cannot be happenstance and cannot be ignored.  

A Calling in the traditional sense meant that one was chosen by God to give spiritual leadership to others. Only certain people were Called. Later people believed that Calling was about being chosen by God for a particular career or vocation whereby one might better serve him by use of the gifts he has bestowed upon us. But God Calls to us in many ways and He has so many things he wants to communicate to us that Calling cannot be just for one type of person and for one reason. The Bible clarifies that the Calling to follow Christ lies at the root of every other Calling.

People in every walk of life are Called to follow Christ with equal depth and commitment.   His ways are not our ways. God’s ways are mysterious and unknown. He communicates to us in many forms that we don’t know but that we can become more aware of.  There are different types of God Calls and God uses different types of conduits to reach us. Today we heard about God’s anointing of David in the passage from Samuel.  That is a special type of Calling, because represents a physical manifestation of God which is a miraculous intervention. It is easy to perceive because it can be seen. But since God’s ways are not our ways, we must search to discern his Calling to us. It won’t be so clear as an anointing most likely.  But when we can discover how to identify his Call, we will be able to enter into a profound and frequent communication with him.        

The 23rd Psalm reveals a few of the ways God Calls to us:   The Lord is my Shepherd (He calls for us to follow Him) I shall not want (He Calls to tell us He will provide for us) Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (He Calls to remind us   that he is with us in the most dire circumstances of our lives) I will fear no evil for you are with me. (God’s Calling is that he will protect us through every trouble)   So this Psalm explains that Leading Us, Providing For us and Protecting us are three messages or Calls that God wants us to know.   How can we discern God’s Calling in our lives? What meaning can you find in your life?In my life I have felt God’s Calling presence in other people, in situations, in nature, and in dreams.  

In one situation, a year ago, when I drove from Toronto to Vancouver to attend school, I know God saved my life by Calling to me. I was driving along that long stretch of winding two-lane highway in Northern, Ontario. Evening was approaching and it was getting darker. I was driving alone with my companion dog Lambert who is more of a wimp than a protector. I glanced over and saw that he was looking anxious. I petted his head to calm him.  I had made reservations at motels across the country trying to estimate how far I would get each day but I had forgotten that one needs to take time to negotiate the twists and turns of the Trans Canada highway in Northern, Ontario.  For the last hundred kilometers or so, I had noticed an increasing number of highway signs warning drivers of the dangers of moose on the road. These signs were really scary…. florescent pictures of large, looming moose with enormous antlers and glowing red eyes like embers. “Danger at Night” repeated the signs, in growing abundance.  

Now I had two concerns: getting to my motel in Thunder Bay, which I had paid for in advance and avoiding a moose. Gradually, I realized that I was the only car on the road. It was around 8pm, getting progressively darker and I still had some distance to go. I suppose subconsciously, I applied more pressure to the gas pedal and soon I heard the eerie and scary Call of a siren. I told myself to stay calm and just explain the situation. The police car got closer and signaled me to pull over.  My heart was racing as two officers approached my car and I unrolled the window.  It was night, I was alone in the middle of nowhere with my wimpy dog and now I could be in trouble. I realized I had no idea how fast I had been going. Words tumbled out of my mouth…. driving to Vancouver, …going to school, … trying to get to motel reservation before too much late, …worried about moose, … signs had scared me. Apparently I had been going a lot faster than I had realized! I don’t want to recall the exact number…and I am not confessing today.

Most kindly, the officers, gave me a stern warning and sent me on my way. I set off slowly, with a careful eye on the speedometer.  Sometime within the next five minutes, at the top of a hill and a curve in the road, a moose stepped out onto the highway into the oncoming lane.  To my eyes that night, he seemed as tall as a two- story building, antlers spiking out in all directions. The scene suddenly turned to slow motion.  He hesitated, starting to walk toward the dividing line, then just as I approached, he stopped again, seemed to wobble in dizziness, turned and stumbled back into the forest at the side of the road from where he had first appeared.

In an instant I saw God’s manifold Callings in the situation. He had Called to me by the signs on the highway, by the darkening sky, by the police siren. He had Called to me to remain calm and steady. He had Called to the moose to return to the forest. He had Called to the police to stop my car because if I had been going any faster, I would quite possibly have hit that moose and not be here today to tell you this story.  

Romans 8 Verse 28 tells us: All things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.        

Another Calling I have witnessed on my life and the life of others is when a nearby stranger is in physical danger. I call this Calling “auto- pilot”. It is when, without concern for ourselves we are propelled to go to rescue someone who is in danger. In the news we hear of brave heroes who dive onto subway tracks to rescue a fallen person or the woman who ran to comfort Corporal Nathan Cirillo moments before he passed after being shot at the parliament buildings in Ottawa a couple years ago.

She was Called to be God’s voice who whispered His message to Corporal Cirillo as he lay dying: “You are brave. You are loved” Perhaps you have seen a blind person, a stray pet, or a child who was in a precarious circumstance and you found yourself stopping your own errand or journey and providing assistance without thought for yourself.  That is God Calling you.  He takes us and uses us as His intercessionaries to heal the world. Perhaps God has Called someone to help you when you were in need?  

Think for a moment of times when you have witnessed God’s Calling in your life, or in the lives of others. Take time to discern God’s Calling on your life.  It may be different than the way he Calls others. He reaches out to each of us in a myriad of ways. When we open our minds and hearts and think about our lives, we will see the times God has called us and the effect He has had on our lives and the lives of others. The way God Calls you will be as unique to you as the unique gifts he has bestowed upon you to serve in His world.    

First Corinthians 12, Verse 7 says this about God’s gifts: To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and            To another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, To another faith by the same Spirit, To another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,                   

To another the working of miracles, To another prophecy, To another the discernment of spirits, To another various kinds of tongues, To another the interpretation of tongues.  

Let us awaken to God’s Calling on our lives and let Him guide us to His will.   Dear Father, we thank you for your Word and for the eternal truths that guide us day by day.

We thank you most of all for the living Word, Jesus Christ, and the sureness of His presence. Teach us how to turn unto you so that your thoughts may be our thoughts, and your ways our ways. Amen