First Thoughts on the Lectionary: January 26, 2014

Matthew 4:

4:18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea for they were fishermen.

4:19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”

4:20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

4:21 As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them 

4:22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

4:23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.

 

Have you ever “called” anyone to their life work?  It’s an incredibly powerful act that is within reach of many of us.  Bit we have to live up to the stature of one who calls in order to do the calling.

 

When I was a junior in High School I was a member of a church with about one hundred kids in the High School program.  A group of three of the leaders of the senior class came to me one Sunday and said “We think you should be the President of the High School program at the church next year.  I was floored.  I was the shyest kid at church and these three older boys, almost in college, called me in no uncertain terms into leadership.  I became president the next year.

 

My senior year of college I took a course in music composition from a visiting composer from England.  I brought him an orchestral piece.  The next day he told students in his counterpoint class that he had a student he hoped would come back next year and do graduate work in composition.   My friends in that class told me.  I had been called.  I went on to do graduate work in music composition.

 

Who are you that you have the right to call someone else to a new life?  None of us are perfect, yet it is within our power and reach to call others to a life of righteousness.   One of the things that happens when we call someone is that we are held accountable, by others and by ourselves, to the standard of one who calls.  It’s a huge responsibility, and the reason we don’t usually “call” people.

 

On January 29 Esther Emery, Luke Harms, and I will begin developing a community conversation which we call “The spirit of the poor.”  We believe that in order to live life more fully and more justly we must live more simply, and in so doing, learn from the poor, and eventually be at one with the spirit of the poor. 

 

Some time ago Esther asked me to write a post on her blog about economic Justice.  I wrote “We are rich because they are poor.”  In that post I said that my Spanish Bible translates the words of Jesus from the sermon on the mount not as “blessed are the poor in spirit” but “blessed are those with the spirit of the poor.”  From that phrase, Esther envisioned a conversation, even a community conversation in which we would help each other move in that direction.  Esther and I wrote Luke Harms.  We “called” him into the discussion.  He felt the weight of being “called” and agreed to be with us in this venture.  On  January 29th we will initiate an anchor blog in which we hope to call others into the community.  It is probably more scary for us than for any of you, but that is our intent.

 

We all have a vision of how life should be lived.  We need to be moving along that path in order to call others to be with us.  Just moving in the direction is all that it takes, but the consequences of “calling” others is that it is harder to turn back.

 

I will think more about these things in the up coming week, and invite you to do so as well.

 

Newell Hendricks

 

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About Newell Hendricks

I have lived a good life. Maybe a counterculture life, maybe a normal life. I have written operas, built houses, been involved with cross-cultural education between Latin America and the U.S, and hardly ever had a job I have helped raise two wonderful children with my amazing wife. It's been a good ride. And I go to church. I've just finished a book of stories from my life, I am still connected to an organization in Nicaragua that promotes sister relationships between communities, faith communities, or schoold, and to the extent that my cancer doesn't pull me down, am attempting to share some of what I have learned, or at least tried out. Welcome, and let's share.
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4 Responses to First Thoughts on the Lectionary: January 26, 2014

  1. Beautifully written, Newell. I will read along, pray for you all, and look more closely to see where I can align with you all. I’m not where you are, but I see you there.

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  2. The first step is facing the same direction. But it’s a tremendously hard step in our culture. Thanks for reading and praying.
    Newell

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  3. You’ve given me a fresh lens to view this Scripture, Newell. I can’t write a proper response just now, because it’s causing me to deeply ponder this. Just today, for example, I called someone, I believe. I see her as a Moses-type of figure to women who are coming out of sociopathic abuse so I wrote and gave her some ideas of how to put her writings into the public eye, and she responded “yes” to me! There’s more for me to ponder here… you always provide such rich food to chew on, for which I thank you!

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    • Susan, you are such a careful reader. I am honored that you took this step and I am very proud of you. As I said, calling one to a righteous path is a very difficult thing to do because you will be held accountable by yourself and by this woman to stand by her in her calling.

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