Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Dear Christ Church Family,

What is the difference between a Job and a Calling? In our readings today, both Moses and Jesus tell us, and show us. Hint: it has to do with the ways we change the lives of others.

Joy,
Rick+

Tuesday, April 21, 2020                        RCL Daily Office Readings, Year 2

AM Psalm 5, 6

PM Psalm 10, 11
Exod. 15:1-21

1 Pet. 1:13-25

John 14:18-31

Saints Days

Anselm

Exodus: The story of a person whose changed life changed the lives of others. In Hollywood, it is said, a good role can change your career; a great role can change your life. One evening, many years ago, D’aun and I found ourselves seated at a dinner party with Charlton and Lydia Clark Heston. Both were devout Episcopalians, and when they found out that I was a priest, that cemented the direction of our conversation for the duration of the evening.

Thinking of that old adage about how a great role could change an actor’s life, I decided to ask Heston if his epically famous movie role as Moses in “The Ten Commandments” had changed him. He responded with what seemed like a diversion from the question, with a question of his own. “How have you enjoyed the weather tonight?” he asked. Not at all sure where he was going with this tack, D’aun and I acknowledged that the weather had in fact been especially nice that evening, even by Los Angeles standards. Without missing a beat, he replied, “You’re welcome!”

That story has been playing in my mind ever since our daily readings started on the story of Moses a few weeks ago. If Jesus’ story is “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” then Moses’ story is “The Second Greatest Story Ever Told.” Despite their many differences, there are striking similarities in their stories. Both have God’s hand upon them from their births: Moses plucked from the reed basket; Jesus saved from the slaughter of the innocents. Both grow up in relative obscurity: Moses in the obscurity of a lower royal functionary; Jesus in a small out-of-the-way village. And both achieve reasonable comfort: Moses herding sheep in the wilderness; Jesus becoming a skilled tradesman in a carpenter’s shop. And both are given a call that sends them in the direction for which they were born: Moses at the Burning Bush; Jesus at his Baptism. And both, in that call, change the life of humanity.

It’s that call that has my attention this morning. You and I, as children of God, and especially as followers of Jesus, have a calling – a purpose for being here on this planet, for taking up space in Time and Space. What does our calling look like? Yesterday, Jesus told us in our Gospel reading that it is, in part, to teach the world his commandments. Today, he repeats that description right after explaining that his commandments are that we love each other as he loves us, and love everyone else as he loves us. He makes it clear that love is how people will know that we are with him, and how they will find their way, through us, to him.

That is the difference between a job and a calling. The main purpose of a job is to enable us to be comfortable; much like Moses and Jesus before their callings. The main purpose of a calling is to use that job and/or its resources, or some new condition of life, to enable others to find peace and love. And, while a job might come to an end, the calling never does. Most of us have been blessed over time with jobs that we have used as vehicles to fulfill our callings as followers of Jesus. For some of us, the nature of our jobs has allowed us to easily see the connection between our work and our calling. Now, due to the Pandemic, we are sequestered. You may be feeling loss of your sense of purpose as a result.

Remember this: you are a child of God. You are a disciple of Jesus. Your purpose in this life is not, and never was, your job. Your purpose is your calling: bringing peace and love into the lives of others. So, pick up a phone today and call someone who needs to know that they are loved enough to matter to you. Send out an encouraging word by email or Facebook. And, if you’re blessed enough to have other lives living with you in that close space you call home, consider how you can make their lives a little easier, a little happier, by your love today. Following your calling will change your life, even as you change the lives of others.