During my prayer and refection on todays a song that has always been one of my favorites came to mind. I heard it many times but it was a staple of evening prayer while I was in the seminary. The song is titled “The Magnificat” – sometimes called the Canticle of Mary – is taken from the gospel of Luke and the words attributed to Mary herself as she was speaking with the angel Gabriel.
I know this has nothing to do with the call of the disciples Peter, Andrew, James and John but it has everything to do God’s desire for us to follow him and our response to his call. The words are simple and have always spoken to my heart. Listening to the song I found myself reflecting on my own lack of responding to God I also found he was steadfastly waiting for me to finally say yes. In fact, I believe that this hesitation to say yes to God’s plan was not unique to me. I now know God does desire us to know how patient and passionate he is for us to allow him to fill us with his love and mercy.
We see that desire to restore and bless us in the Old Testament reading today. Isaiah words are telling us that God will bring us abundant joy and great rejoicing because of Jesus.
The Magnificat begins with the words “my soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior because he has done great things for me.” The reason these words hit me hard is because as I look back on my life there is nothing there that would make anyone believe I would ever find my way to God. Yet I see the many times he gave me a chance to respond and I failed to hear his voice calling me. I was a sinful person who knew nothing of what God was offering me or anyone else.
The scriptures give us a picture of how confused the disciples often were about where Jesus was leading them and what he would have them do for the kingdom. Today they eagerly leave everything behind but during the next three years they had moments of wonder and awe and moments of fear and confusion. Yet God knew how he would equip them for holiness and for their role in salvation history.
If we only understood how we are no different than any of the great saints and yes even Mary in what God desires to do for us. His is calling us to great things in spite of his knowing our failings and weaknesses. How can I be so certain that God overlooks our lack of response to his love? I can be that certain because of my own experience and because Ps. 139 says God made us with purpose. It isn’t God’s fault we fail to see his purpose or fail to ever hear his calling us to follow him.
God never quits reaching out to us. He never gives up but he keeps inviting us to open our eyes, ears and hearts to his voice. When we finally do respond we will find out that “our souls will rejoice in God our savior for he has looked with mercy on our lowliness and our names have been exalted.” Yes we will find that our names can be included with the list of the exalted because we will know he has touched our sin and has forgiven us.
Our hearts will sing along with Mary, “for the mighty God has done great things for me and his mercy will be from age to age.” God’s does not do great things for us because we have been righteous and holy.
The righteous do not believe they need mercy because they believe they are sinless before God. They fail to understand the mission of Christ and salvation because they have managed to avoid breaking any of the deadly laws of God. They have failed to understand that the law they so zealously follow is acting as a disciplinarian when God desires us to know a savior.
Today we hear a story of how four men finally responded to the call of God. Their moment of clarity came to them while they finished their work day. You would think that clarity would come at a time of prayer, or at a retreat, or at a time when they were seeking guidance. Instead it came out of nowhere and it stirred their hearts to respond. What about your moment of invitation? Has it come or are you uncertain it has or has not?
I am not overlooking the significance of the call of disciples and the importance of their response. Nor am in minimizing the response of Mary, of John the Baptist or any of the great and not so great figures we find in the scriptures. Their story was given to us in the scriptures not as a model but as a unique calling and equipping of each of them for their role in making God’s name known. We too have a unique calling and we too have been equipped for our role in making the gift of salvation known.
My prayer for you this weekend is that you find in the words of a song, in a book, in a prayer or in your heart the voice of God calling you to follow. If you have already responded to his call please realize there is more required to go deeper into the heart of God. If you are not certain that you have hear his voice then pray for him to dampen the sounds of everything that keeps you from hearing his voice. Then open your hearts to realize the wonder of God’s love will do marvelous things in you and you will know your place in building the kingdom.
I invite you to listen to the song The Magnificat each day this week and listen for your call. Listen to God speak to your heart. Click on the link below and listen to God speak to your heart and respond to his voice so like the disciples you can make Christ alive for others.
Just highlight the link below and click on the video link that will appear.