God’s Call, Our Leap of Faith
Rev Sunny Kim January 24, 2020 Worship
Call to Worship
We are summoned by our holy God, who calls us each by name, and gathers us together in the unity of Jesus Christ. Together, we are called into God’s presence. .
In joy and in trouble, help us, gracious God, to trust your love, to serve your purpose, and to praise your name. Amen.
5 For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. 6 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 7 On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God. 8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah
9 Those of low estate are but a breath, those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath. 10 Put no confidence in extortion, and set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, do not set your heart on them. 11 Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God,
12 and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work.
The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news[a] of God,[b] 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near;[c] repent, and believe in the good news.”[d]
Jesus Calls the First Disciples
16 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.
God’s Call, Our Leap of Faith
When I was called into ministry, I was teaching English at a private elementary school run by a Methodist Church. It was a Christian school and all the teachers were Christian, but I had left the church for some years by then. Something happened during my second year at that school, which led to two of our teachers being wrongfully fired. Our grade six children cried and protested in the school playground in the rain demanding their teacher back, and the national news crew came to cover the story; it was heartbreaking and troubling. The wife of the minister who ran the school verbally abused the two teachers instead of supporting them. It is in this stormy situation that I started praying again. I prayed for the teachers and our children. But, unexpectedly, in the silence of my prayer time, I heard God’s voice. I felt God was calling me into ministry, but I could not believe God would make someone like me a pastor. Thus, I kept praying. When it became more and more obvious that God wanted me to be a minister, I quit my job and prepared for my theological school application. And as they say, “the rest is history.” Eighteen years later, here I am, never having stopped being led by God. Despite all my weaknesses, I learned to always trust God in wherever I am led, including D-Dutchmen Dairy’s chocolate milk that led me to Sicamous.
Today, we hear Mark’s account of how the first disciples were called. Jesus said, “Follow me,” and they abandoned everything to follow him. Have you ever thought those men were crazy to do so? I have. But then I learned about the historical background of when and where Jesus lived. These men were yearning and searching for God’s Chosen One. We can imagine how hard it would have been abandoning one’s family and livelihood to follow a wandering preacher with no possessions. It was possible because they had been spiritually hungry, waited, searched, and prayed.
Hearing God’s call requires intense practice of listening attentively. We know that God calls us into different kinds of ministries and services, but we cannot discern God’s call if we do not take the time and energy to search for it. Listen to what the psalmist says in today’s psalm; “God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. 6 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.” This is how God’s call works; our soul should wait for God in silence… possibly for a long time. We should wait in silence, ready to listen and trust. One cannot obey if one does not trust. I could obey as God led me to all the places, geographically and spiritually, since my first call 18 years ago because I learned to trust God. The first disciples could abandon everything and follow Jesus because they trusted that Jesus was the One. It is called the leap of faith.
God calls all of us who believe in God and follow Jesus. And God’s call is not limited to big events such as me changing my career or the first disciples abandoning their family and livelihood. Every day and in every circumstance, God talks to us and guides us; every decision we have to make in life such as for which job we would volunteer or with what attitude we would treat our neighbours, and so on. Since the beginning of this new Christian year, Jesus was born, baptized, tempted, then in today’s gospel story, started his ministry by preaching and gathering followers. We are also at the beginning of our secular year, starting with hope and resolutions. Especially in this global pandemic that has increased the human suffering, we should quietly listen for God’s call for us. There is a lot to be done to expand God’s kingdom in our communities; to show the suffering world what God’s love can do. Let us start from our local community and then expand our concerns nationally and globally. Let us take some silent spiritual time and listen for God’s call, big and small. And whichever way God moves our spirits, let us trust and take a leap of faith by following.
Let us pray…
God of all ages, you called a shepherd named Moses to lead the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. You called another shepherd boy and anointed him King of Israel. You called the boy Jeremiah to be your prophet although he was young and doubted his qualification. You also called lowly fishermen to follow Jesus and spread the message of your kingdom. We know that you call us too, both individually and as your church. In the midst of our troubling times, guide us to our spiritual desert where we can meet you and hear your calls. In our quiet times, speak to us and call us into your diverse services. Call us and send us out into the troubled world to testify to your indiscriminatory love.
Through our donations and the thrift shop ministry, let us serve our neighbours in Sicamous. With our donation to the mission and service fund, let us take care of those in need outside our local community, because all your people are our neighbours and siblings. With our prayers and help, let us serve each other in our personal needs. We pray for those of us who are mourning, dealing with medical problems, sad, lonely, or have emotional and mental burdens. Gather us under your safe wings, for you are our hope, refuge, and mighty rock.
Our Creator, who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
And the love of God,
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Be with us, now and forever. Amen.