A Word that Calls us…

“Paul’s letter to the Ephesians joins together what has been torn apart in our sin-wrecked world. He begins with an exuberant exploration of what Christians believe about God, and then, like a surgeon skillfully setting a compound fracture, `sets’ this belief in God into our behavior before God so that the bones – belief and behavior – knit together and heal.

Eugene H. Peterson. Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ (Kindle Locations 370-372). Kindle Edition.

The last few weeks have felt hectic. I have not had the chance to read and process and post some thoughts on this second chapter in Peterson’s book. I have not been able to cook regular meals; fast food has dominated, and that is not like us. The schedule has not changed dramatically, but the busy-ness of healthy, active kids has seemed, well, more busy.

We have practices for two kids Tuesday nights and Thursday nights and Friday nights. We have games, usually two, every Saturday.

We have Biblestudy on Wednesday nights.

Church on Sundays.

Busy.  Oh, and we had a birthday in there, with another party this weekend. The oldest boy turns 12 in just a couple weeks, and he had braces put on this past week.

I have had that feeling of running from place to place. This is the time for registering for tutorials and picking out curriculum for next year, so that has added to the hectic feel. The push of the urgency.

There are times for the urgent, but the urgent has to stop dominating. I feel tired and harried. Then I read the above paragraph from Peterson and my whole soul leaned in and there was that whisper of, “Yes…this is what I need to think on today.”  Chapter two for Peterson is focused on how God is calling us…not directing or informing, but calling us, and the response is a walk. Not a pursuit of the urgent…a walk.

The items balanced in the Ephesians scales are God’s calling and human living: “I beg you,” writes Paul, “to walk (peripateo) worthy of the calling to which you have been called (kaleo).” When our walking and God’s calling are in balance, we are whole; we are living maturely, living responsively to God’s calling, living congruent with the way God calls us into being. Axios, worthy – mature, healthy, robust.

Eugene H. Peterson. Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ (Kindle Locations 387-390). Kindle Edition.

We can understand neither God nor ourselves in any living, adequate, and mature way that is an impersonal, non-relational way. When God’s calling and our walking fit, we are growing up in Christ. God calls; we walk.

Eugene H. Peterson. Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ (Kindle Locations 392-393). Kindle Edition.

We cannot ‘do’ this Christianity in a static or analytical way…we are called into a relationship and a journey. I needed to hear that this morning. In the midst of the busy-ness of life, I…and you…are called by the Living God to walk with Him.  We are called through His Word…through the conversation with Him in the Bible and through the Holy Spirit. This is not some dead creed or some dead language…God speaks to us.

God speaks the decisive word that puts us on the way, the road, the path of life. The Hebrew word for Bible is Miqra, a noun formed from the verb “to call,” qara. The Bible is not a book to carry around and read for information on God, but a voice to listen to. I like that. This word of God that we name Bible, book, is not at root a word to be read and looked at and discussed. It is a word to be listened to and obeyed, a word that gets us going. Fundamentally, it is a call: God calls us.

Eugene H. Peterson. Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ (Kindle Locations 407-410). Kindle Edition.

God’s word stirs us. There are other books which do that as well…I have been stirred reading Madeleine L’Engle, reading Frederick Buechner, reading…countless authors.  Many times I am stirred by their writings because they are echoing the words of the Word. The Truth is the same and my Spirit attests to that. There is something different about the Bible, though. That Spirit-infested Word that conveys to us God’s call. Not only does it call us, but it identifies us…it gives us the understanding of our true identity. God’s children. God’s people. God’s called ones…

A call is not an impersonal cause that makes something happen in a mechanical way in obedience to the laws of physics, like a baseball that is launched by a swung bat knocking it out of the ballpark. Call comes into our ears, beckoning us into the future, bringing us into a way of life that has never been experienced in just this way before: a promise, a new thing, a blessing, our place in the new creation, a resurrection life.

Eugene H. Peterson. Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ (Kindle Locations 413-416). Kindle Edition.

The call comes in the middle of the mediocrity, or the mundane, or the muck, or the mire….the middle of wherever we are.  The call comes and changes everything…brings hope. Brings Resurrection life.

Life that is no longer dominated by the urgency of the mundane. Life instead that is infested by the Spirit of the Living God. Life that is informed by eternity and by the reality of the truly important and informed…not just an existence of jumping from one activity to another.

I needed to hear that this morning. As my little one is standing and waiting for me to come out and jump on the trampoline and my others are doing school work. Life is happening, but it is not just the marking off of our to-do list. Life is listening for that Call for today…to understand what that Resurrection life means in the midst of the busy-ness. How that call changes the mundane into something different. Something hopeful and life-filled.

There is more to this chapter, but for now that is enough for me to chew on for awhile. I need to let the reality of that call sink deeply into this frazzled soul.