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Going Beyond Just Listening

One Ringy, Dingy...

Two Ringy, Dingy...

Some of you may remember Lily Tomlin's character Ernestine on Rowan and Martin's Laugh In from the early 70's. The skits of this snarky AT&T operator calling famous people remain iconic telephone humor available on YouTube for anyone who has yet to discover her brilliance. She always got hung up on as a part of her gag. She would check the plug to make sure she was still connected, and then dial again. The writers were, in part, making social commentary on the ubiquitousness of Ma Bell, along with making fun of the most powerful people of that day.

What got me thinking about Ernestine was working on my summer preaching series on The Call. We will be spending 6 weeks between now and the end of July thinking about what it means to be Called, what we are Called to, and how the future depends on our willingness to answer the proverbial phone.

Too often we think about Call as a personal thing, something that happens to an individual as a once-in-a-lifetime event. What I've learned by both living with and studying about Call is that it is both personal and communal. You could be Called to a job or career, to serve in a particular way, or with a particular group of people. It could be a civic or religious Call. And it could be general or finite. However, you are never Called just for yourself. There is always a larger purpose that impacts a wider community when we talk about Call.

When I think about this season of transition and exploration that we are sharing I think a lot about what FCCUCC is being Called to in the next 5, 10, 20 years. I think about the Bylaw revisions we are working through and how finding the right structure can free the people who share this journey to live into our collective Call. I think a lot about how manifesting the Call to be the Body of Christ Alive in the World here in Salem, Oregon requires not just listening, but hearing what is coming to us from the Spirit.

As we explore the idea of Call and listen to one another over these next 6 weeks of Cottage Meetings, I hope we can really hear the messages that are coming to us and through us. Our collective sense of Call will shape the ministries we initiate as well as the ways we use our resources. Whether Climate Justice, creating a radically welcoming place for those who are cast out from religious community, collaborating with other Welcoming Communities of Faith, or something completely new, I know we are Called by God to be a point of Hope, and Grace, Peace and Love for all.

Here's to hearing, listening, and answering the Call!

Pastor Robin

P.S. And just for fun, here is one of my favorite songs about calling Jesus. (I love that one of the Premier Chant artists alive today sings this song in rooms full of people who practice various Eastern Yogic traditions. Looks like church to me!)

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