Ok, I admit that I've been allowing myself to enjoy a king-sized follow-the-tangents trail as I explore this week's scripture.
It all starts with the beautiful story of Jesus calling Simon, James and John to follow him. Jesus shows them that he has power--and knows to they can catch lots of fish--and Simon immediately recognizes Jesus' deeper authority. And they leave everything to follow him.
This is incredible enough.
But then, my thought continues through a question raised by Karen at a staff meeting this week: are we teaching and showing people that God is calling each one of us today? Sure, we talk about preachers, and maybe even church musicians being "called." But are we open to the callings and promptings God puts on each one of our lives?
Then, my thoughts take a sharp detour. I start thinking about the work "call." As in "I just called to say I love you," and "You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am, I'll come running." Phone calls, call-backs, and call-and-response singing. Which, naturally, reminded me of my foray onto urbandictionary.com to see what it means for Gwen Stefani to (not) be a Hollaback Girl. (I know, I'm slow. It's been years since Gwen first went b-a-n-a-n-a-s.)
My favorite explanation was that Gwen was riffing on accusations from Courtney Love that Gwen is a "cheerleader." And everyone knows that cheerleaders have some folks who start cheers, and some folks who lead the response (or, the holla-back girls). So, perhaps, Gwen wanted to say that she may be a cheerleader, but she's the top banana cheerleader?
In any case, I then started thinking about the older tradition of call-and-response preaching and singing. A leader calls out the first line, which brings a rousing response from the people. I know it best from our African-American musical tradition. It's the kind of singing that would lift spirits in church, and while doing back-breaking work together. It relies on a shared community knowledge, and a beautiful interplay of leadership and following.
Which made me wonder if Gwen isn't distracting us from the point: perhaps there is rich blessing in being willing to "hollaback"--especially to God. To continue the story God has begun, and to pass it along to others?
In any case...
I hope you're thinking about how God has called and is calling you.
And, as a bonus this week, we'll consider the question a couple of you asked about what resurrection means. (We won't, however, cover this topic completely...) ;) Check out Paul's first letter to the folks in Corinth for more thoughts in preparation for this...