Call and Response

Let me know you are here when I call your name.

Self revelation isn’t for the faint of heart, but choosing to disappear from sight and hearing even among friends becomes a habit that gets more difficult to break as the days, months, and years pass. In most school classes, there’s that one boy or girl that can barely muster up the courage and volume to be counted at the opening day’s attendance. This isn’t just shyness or a quiet nature, this is a debilitating fear of being heard – and once heard, coming up short in some soul shaking way. Perhaps escaping notice is preferable to rejection, but such reasoning leads nowhere good.

Disappearing from hearing is different from being out of sight. A voice can penetrate the darkest of places, and doesn’t fail even when the one who hears is looking in the wrong direction. Speaking reveals location, sure, but it also reveals emotions, opinions, and ideas. Much can be learned by listening, and much communicated by what is said, shouted, or sung.

God calls many people by name all through the Bible; angels and dreams do the same. Most everyone who hears the call answers, imperfectly and sometimes reluctantly. Blessings, suffering, danger, miracles, and death are in store for those called, but most answer God in some form of here I am, anyway.

None of us have the power to call people to life and love the way God does, but any one of us can be the voice God chooses to speak with. God’s call may come to us directly, or through anyone who speaks to us. Whatever may come of it, it is a holy blessing to answer with our own I am here. If all of us can dare to answer when God calls, perhaps a bit of self-revelation on a smaller scale may be dared as well…

[This is one of an ongoing series. For more information, click Every School Day above.]


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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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