After last week, in which the wonderful “yes” of God was explored alongside the challenging “no”, the Lectionary now challenges us to decide what to do with God’s invitational and confrontational grace.
In all of this week’s readings there are two strong themes that emerge. The first is that God calls women and men to follow God’s alternative way of being, and to share the Gospel with others. In Isaiah, we read the famous call story. The Psalmist is confident that God will work out God’s plans in the Psalmist’s life. Paul reminds the Corinthian believers both of the Gospel that has been preached to them, and of Paul’s own calling in sharing that message. And in the Gospel reading from Luke, Peter has his life-changing encounter with Jesus in which he is called to become a “fisher of people”.
The second theme that stands alongside this one is that of grace. Isaiah’s message is not a comfortable or particularly comforting one, but it does include an assurance of God’s mercy and grace. The Psalmist praises God for God’s gracious promises, and trusts in God’s grace to save the Psalmist. Paul proclaims very strongly his conviction that he is what he is only because of God’s grace, and even in Peter’s call there is the awareness in Peter of his unworthiness, and yet the wonderful grace of Jesus as he basically ignores Peter’s confession and calls him into service.
On the one hand we are called to receive this grace in our own lives and enjoy the freedom it brings. On the other hand, we are challenged to become participants in God’s gracious work as God calls us to follow God’s alternative way of being and share that way with those around us.
May our worship this week challenge us to receive both Go’s grace and God’s call to be agents of that grace in the world.