Too busy writing to a deadline to be able to post this earlier, but in retrospect it’s worth reading, maybe?
In the movie About Time, on his 21st
birthday Tim is introduced by his Dad to a secret: the men in the family can
return in time to ‘re do’ parts of their lives.
Tim chooses to redo his wedding reception
several times because his choice for best man keep botching the toast:
His best friend Rory, another lawyer, has read
a book on toasts, and following its advice, tells a story from work, one buried
in the intricacies of tort law, which is boring and drier than desert salt.
His Dad’s crude writer friend starts off with
a string of profanity declaring that as a professional writer he asked first
what he would be paid to make this speech.
Another friend stoops to crude sexual stories
about Tim’s earlier girlfriends.
Finally, Tim asks his last choice to step into the breach.
His father at least makes a simple toast: “to the man with the worst haircut and the
best bride in the room.”
But his father is not happy with it. He forgot
to say he loved Tim. So Tim’s father does a redo.
The second time Tim’s father makes it simple,
and profound, as if he was born to this, as if it was his calling. He says: The
one big thing is I’ve loved three men in my life: well my father was a frostly
old guy. So that leaves Uncle Desmond, B.B. King, of course, and this young
And then comes the inspired wisdom from the
writers: ‘In the end we are all quite similar. We all grow old and tell the
same stories too many times.’ The father’s only wedding advice is to ‘find
someone to marry who is … kind.’ ‘And this man is a kind man’, he says
referring to Tim.
Marriages all have their challenges, and none
are easy. But you can work through most all of that … if you are kind.
Congregations are the same. We can work
through most anything … if we are kind. Or to be more honest, the bar is much
higher. We can work through anything … if we love one another, even our
enemies, and God with all our hearts, minds and strength.
In the readings for today a theme of vocation
for various people connects everything together. Martin Luther talked about
vocation as what God calls us to do with our lives.
not like a vacation: it is what one does for work that works … for others.
is to vocate, (ok that really is not a word)
vocation as a verb is like vocalizing
with one’s doing, or to vocalize with one’s being, one’s being in motion and
action, vocation is to be someone alive intentionally in God’s creation.
Vocation is one’s calling. While one’s profession is what
one does because one has trained for it and gained the necessary skills and
qualifications; a vocation is the innate ability in an individual towards a
particular occupation, activity or responsibility.
is your vocation? Likely you have
more than one, either at the same time or your vocation has migrated or maybe
completely changed over time.
finds out in today’s lesson that his vocation is not to be envied: he is, as he
was to be since before he was born, a prophet. One of those people charged with
telling the awful truth to God’s people, truth that they in no way want to
hear. A person who is less listened to than abused for the news they bring.
Jeremiah is not too eager for this beginning. He knows he is not qualified. And
he tries his best to side-step this terrible vocation, this awesome vocation,
this frightening vocation. He says he is too young and will not know what to
course, we know that being any age
is not right for becoming a prophet, and no one of any age would know what to
say, not without God’s guidance … after all what kind of prophet would speak on
prepared. God reaches out, touches Jeremiah’s mouth and gives him the words
that Jeremiah will say for God.
abuse, the shooting the messenger, still comes in spades, but Jeremiah knows
for sure he is God’s prophet.
also has a vocation. His vocation is profoundly significant for everyone. Jesus
is the perfect redeemer for all sinners, for the whole world. He has started
his ministry, healing people of all kinds. Then he comes home to Nazareth but
he is still regarded as nothing more than he was as a child, son of Joseph, the
tries to explain to his hometown people in the synagogue that evening why he
will not perform any miracles. He recounts how God repeatedly sends prophets
and healers and miracle makers to people other than Israel, to its enemy
neighbours, to the people they despise.
are prophetic words, and the people do not see clearly, do not even catch a
glimpse of, do not even see dimly,
who Jesus is. They become very afraid, and angry!
ready to throw Jesus off the cliff, but Jesus walks through their midst and
not change his vocation, in fact it makes an awful, great beginning, just not
at home. It foreshadows that many people will not accept Jesus, because they
are too familiar with him.
vocations do we have? What great variety of vocations are there in the body of
Christ? And right here in our congregation?
we have many. We have Care givers, listeners, organizers, leaders, teachers,
musicians who brings music to inspire and heal us, maybe a poet, an artist or
two, perhaps some who are truly great at encouraging others. And I’m sure you
can name a few more.
seem more important, but none are.
vocations depend not on skills we develop or training we succeed at. Vocations
depend entirely upon gifts from God, made possible by Jesus Christ and imbued
in us by the Holy Spirit.
matter the gifts, if we do not exercise our vocations with love,
are useless, just banging cymbals, or noisy gongs.
but no great melody, no rhythm. Just noise.
does love look like?
patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It
does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not
rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things,
believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
is loving, and no one is perfect, so our love is imperfect, … but as we are
able to be loving in what we do, in our vocations…
God is there blessing what we do … All that we do …
it that we – you have as vocations, musicians, office staff, leaders, readers,
fixers, teachers, builders, quilters, bakers or whatever?
matter what happens or what we do,
may we know that in doing what we do:
God’s love that makes it all worthwhile. No matter what vocation we have.
not see things clearly on this earth,
can now already see dimly … enough to work with … so that we can be loving with
our family, friends, acquaintances and family, and even with our enemies.
what we do, whatever that is, will be blessed to be a blessing.
give life to others, in simple words, if we are kind and loving.