Sunday, January 18, 2009

God Calling

"Follow me." John 1:43

I spent this morning with the people of St. Luke's in Ft. Yates on the Standing Rock Reservation. We chance to reflect on what the story about the calling of Philip and Nathanael might mean for us in these historic times. A faithful community that has over and over again faced impossible odds and still found God and grace in the midst of it. Winter is harsh here and the unemployment is near 65%. And yet they smile and pray together, holding families together and feeding their community in countless ways. In the hours before this historic inauguration, it is hard not to be excited by what is possible. We have been living with a challenging, odds against us, sense of ministry for a long time. The funds have dwindled and the number of Native clergy has been way down. But here, in this small little community, they are raising up leaders, gathering kids and teens, and finding ways to live the impossible. I am always blessed to be with these faithful people, and to be among them at worship was a real gift.

Nathanael was skeptical when Philip told him about Jesus. He didn't think anything good could come out of Nazareth. He didn't think the impossible was even plausible. He had lived enough and been burned enough, worn down, dragged out and betrayed just enough to expect little good to come out of anything. Leadership was corrupt and nothing was going to change. His resources and faith were spent. So, there comes Jesus, right while he was trying to rest, telling him he would change the world, and Nathanael would be a part of that. Extraordinary and unbelievable.
And yet, this is what happens, Nathanael and Philip follow and Jesus leads them through the impossible to God and abundance grace in the center of impossibly difficult circumstances.

I want to try today to live with a real belief that God is doing a new thing in our time . What was once impossible in our national leadership now is about to become reality. Someone who didn't fit in, will now be our leader. And I want to follow where Christ leads, despite impossible situations and all the odds against it. May we all cherish these historic times and be moved, heart and soul, to embrace the possibilities, following Christ. We have never been asked to go and blaze the trail alone, but simply to follow Christ. May we follow with a renewed sense of hope and possibility, knowing that love can break through where it doesn't belong and change hearts across the universe.

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