Call In Well

    9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

10Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.  (1 Peter 2:9-10)

These words thunder off the page. If Peter said them, he shouted them. I think these are the final words of his sermon. These words called the people of God in his time to be who they are. They call us to be who we are today. We have been called out of the darkness into the marvelous light of God to be light in the world. We are mercy because we have received mercy.

This is one way for us to understand what it means to be “Resurrection People”.

I think a quote from Tom Robbins book Even Cowgirls Get the Blues is an appropriate insight into what it means to be Resurrection People. It goes like this:

“You’ve heard of people calling in sick. You may have called in sick a few times yourself. But have you ever thought about calling in well?”

You’d get the boss on the line and say, “Listen, I’ve been sick ever since I started working here, but today I’m well and I won’t be in.”

Call in well.

Calling in well as Resurrection People makes it very clear about who Jesus is and who we are. We need to be giving life, not taking life away. We need to be the voices and the presence of well Resurrection People in the world.

We are well because we have been forgiven.

We are well because we no longer need to fear death.

We are well because we are in a special relationship with God that enables us to love.

The church needs to be a place of safety and a haven for everyone: those who are broken and for those who think they are whole and don’t need a place of safety. We as church need to be the place where people can call in well and risk being authentically who they are. Easter gives us the freedom to call in well.

I had a marvelous conversation with a young man a few weeks ago. He is a young father and he and his wife have a wonderful one-year-old boy. He attends church maybe 12 times a year. He struggles with the church and keeps coming back to see if maybe there is something that he can hang onto in the community of faith. So I asked him what he would like to see happen in church for him and his family.

He said that he would like to have a safe place to come, a place without judgment where he could be vulnerable and where he could ask his questions about faith and life.

In our Gospel lesson today Jesus says these wonderful words: 1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? (John 14:1-2)

The dwelling places that God in Christ prepares for us take lots of different shapes. One of the things we do is we limit the wonder of God in our need to make God do what we would like God to do. We limit our understanding of this part of John’s Gospel by saying it is all about eternal life. It has that dimension.

But there are two other dimensions to this. First we forget that Jesus dwells in us. The dwelling place he is preparing is in you. It calls us back to the beginning:

   9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

   10Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

In each of us is the presence of God for a purpose. To be God’s people and to bring light and mercy to the world!

The second image of a dwelling place is right here at OP Lutheran. You see, this is where we provide the dwelling places and the welcome for everyone who comes here looking for a safe haven and a safe place to be. Where love and forgiveness are real, and powerful and present.

This is where we welcome everyone young or old, rich or poor, regardless of where we come from or where we were born and this place – this dwelling place of the presence of God – is the safe place a haven for all.

2017-05-18T13:51:59+00:00