The readings for this Sunday are a great reminder of God’s call for all of us as disciples; whether that call is a vocation that we use to earn a living or the one we use to make a life, or maybe both. We hear in the first reading that Jeremiah was specifically chosen by God, even in his mother’s womb, to be a prophet to his people. Jeremiah struggled in his vocation with those who would not or didn’t care to hear what was being said.
Does this sound familiar? I think we all have sat in the pews and watched the lector stumble over words, and then passed judgment on how the reading was presented rather than what was being offered for us to ponder. Or how about that cantor who just was not with it, or the server who stumbled and spilled the cruet? Or were we so distracted that we did not even notice anything?
Even in today’s Gospel, Jesus went to the synagogue to preach and was not well-received. In fact, he literally had to escape from the crowd. Distractions are everywhere and they can overwhelm us if we let them. Instead of being judgmental, we should have a frame of mind that allows us to be understanding.
We are human and we are fallible. People in ministry, from servers to readers, committee volunteers to parish staff or clergy, and all of us in the pews experience times when things just don’t go as well as one would want. But our struggles are not a sign that we should cash in and say, heck with it. Nope! God has our backs at all times. In Psalm 71 the psalmist praises God for being a rock of refuge, a safety net. So the next time you or someone you know is doubting their vocation or ministry, take heart, God has formed us in the womb to be who we are.
There is a song that comes to mind, “Here I Am, Lord” by Dan Schutte, that really sets the tone for listening and answering God’s call to us. In this song, the verses are God’s beckoning words to us of how God will provide. We just have to say “yes.”
Ministry to and in the church is both a calling and a challenge. This week, thank all of those volunteers and ministers to your parish — readers, servers, musicians, clergy, parish and school staff, teachers, etc. We may sit in the pews from week to week and not even realize the journeys of all those who help us on our own paths to salvation.
Wettstein is director of music and liturgy at Good Shepherd Parish, Chilton.