Thursday, June 5, 2008

Who me?

Pastors get surprised by biblical texts too. I've stared at Caravaggio's "The Calling of St. Matthew" so often that I'd forgotten how short the scripture citation is.
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him. Matthew 9:9

Ever since I first saw 'The Calling' I've imagined the internal struggle of Matthew; "Who me?" he seems to say with one hand on the coins and the other pointing at self. In this very moment he considers the call. It had to be that understanding of the individual moment of call that so interested the five women clergy standing in front of the picture in Rome. It has to be why that picture continues to fascinate me, a year later.

Clergy like to speak of calling; the calling of vocation, the call to ministry, and the call to follow Christ. In fact, everyone responds to a calling, of some sort, others just don't use the term 'call' to describe it. God calls us to many things, but mostly into Divine Relationship. There is no higher calling and no other answer is as important. It matters much less what we do, as long as we are in relationship with God. It is that relationship which requires the decision to commit your very life. Today we think of being called to a vocation, Matthew was called away from one and into the relationship of true living.

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