Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: 6 I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, 7 to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. Isaiah 42:5-7
At the end of each 8th grade confirmation class, I ask the students, “Who will pray for us today?” Most of the time, they just look at each other in silence. Sometimes someone might volunteer someone else. Rarely does anyone jump up to volunteer. Again, a majority of the time they sit and stare at each other, waiting for someone else to step up and do it. They know we will not end class until someone volunteers. Though there is a need, they all think someone else will do it, even if they feel moved to do it themselves.
In the reading from Isaiah above, we hear that we are called to be a servant, to be a light to the nations, to open the eyes of the blind and to bring out the prisoners. In other words, we are called to serve. It is in the very nature of what God, through the suffering servant Jesus Christ, has done for us. Because we have been made righteous through Christ, we have been made to serve.
So often, though we feel a call to serve, to proclaim Christ crucified and risen, to work for the neighbor and the poor, we stop. We wait. We wait for SOMEONE ELSE to answer the call. That wait is often caused by our own selfishness. “Oh, someone else will take care of it.” It is like seeing a dirty dish in a sink and instead of washing it, we just leave it there. Even more so, when it DOESN’T get clean, we complain about it or wonder why someone hasn’t done it.
That is our struggle. Not that we are called to serve, but that we actually ANSWER that call. Instead of looking around like my confirmation students, wondering who is going to pray, we should jump up and answer that call. After all, God HAS called us. This is the same god who created us, who has saved us, and who promises to be with us always. So what do we have to fear? What stops us? A sense of inadequacy? Of wondering if it is our place?
The Lord has called you to be a light to the nations. The Lord has called you to open the eyes of the blind. The Lord has called you to set the prisoners free. The Lord has called YOU. Today. Yesterday. And everyday.
Answer that call. Serve the Lord. Love the neighbor. Proclaim the Good News. Be a light to the nations. Thanks be to God! Amen