John’s Gospel is very interesting and this encounter in the story we heard today involving John the Baptist, Jesus, Andrew and then Simon Peter is full of double entendres, symbolic action, and questions leading to questions. In John’s—the Gospel writer—story-telling method, the idea was to rhetorically raise questions about Jesus’ identity and what it would mean to follow him and God’s Kin-Dom of peace. Following would have involved sight — seeing with the heart and with the soul. It involved sacrifice, not knowing what will come. It involved risk as the boundaries would get pushed. It involved lots of questions rather than neat answers. Following Jesus today, even for us, involves the same things!
I’ve been cleaning out my office, a kind of excavation in some instances. I came across a booklet, which I started flipping through and remembering, and I remembered that one of the chapters talked about lay leadership; the actual chapter began, “Key leadership roles in churches are killer roles. Many of our most capable, committed people are disappearing out the back door—burned out!”
I found that quote captivating; it’s relevant to our challenges today and sounds very pertinent in these last few years; in fact, this chapter was in a little booklet called How to Prevent Lay Leader Burnout and was written in the early ’80s. I hadn’t even started seminary yet. The booklet addressed many of the key questions we’re considering today about churches, congregations and our future. And one key issue is still the same—vocation: vocation, vocation, vocation.
Vocation is a Latin rooted word that means calling. We are called into ministry, each in our way. A vocation isn’t just reserved for those who go into »»