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Monday, April 20, 2020
In our joys and in our sorrows,
days of toil and hours of ease,
still he calls, in cares and pleasures,
“Christian, love me more than these.”
Jesus calls us: by thy mercies,
Savior, may we hear thy call,
give our hearts to thy obedience,
serve and love thee best of all.
“Jesus Calls Us” (vv. 3–4) by Cecil Frances Alexander
Hymn 720, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal
Although we are moving full speed ahead in this season of Eastertide and discipleship, our hymn text today is instead looking back—back to Jesus’ calling of the earliest disciples out on their boats as a reminder of what we are all being called to this time of year. But while the other three Gospels portray the disciples as readily accepting Jesus’ invitation (this life-changing decision lasts one whole verse in Mark’s Gospel!), I’ve always had an affinity for Luke’s more protracted account of the disciples being called. In Luke 5:1–11, Jesus puts out the same call to Simon and the others, but Simon’s response is not one of immediate acceptance. “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” he proclaims in Luke 5:8—perhaps a self-awareness that he is not up to the great task that is being asked of him.
In Cecil Frances Alexander’s hymn, “Jesus Calls Us,” we again hear the magnitude of the call that Jesus extends to us as disciples: we are to love God more than “our joys and sorrows” and to “give our hearts to thy obediences, serve and love thee best of all.” Following Jesus is no small task; our discipleship is meant to be life-altering. My guess is that many of us might respond like Simon: “Go away from me, Lord!” We do not see ourselves as the correct emissaries of our faith or worthy of the high calling that is being asked of us. But in this season of Eastertide, we are reminded that we too have been called—so we come asking for the Spirit’s help in following Christ’s example.
Holy God, whenever we may feel frightened or overwhelmed by the immensity of your call to discipleship, may you remind us through your Holy Spirit that you guide, strengthen, and empower us to be your people. For that we give you thanks. Amen.
Written by Matt Helms, Associate Pastor for Children and Family Ministry
Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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