God demands obedience to his calls: Meditation for the fifth Sunday after trinity
The petition of the day’s Collect is that as Abraham was given faith to obey God’s call and go into the unknown, so would the Church be granted such faith to follow God courageously. When God calls and sends, the destination may not be known. But, compliance and obedience demonstrate faith and trust and are the condition for the blessings of God.
God’s calls start with “Come” (to belong to him or become a Christian), then, “Go” (to mission or ministry or particular assignment). It can also be “Come Back” (to repentance when you derail). God always demands obedience. His call needs to be heeded through compliance with its directives.
The OT passage for the day (Holy Communion – Gen. 12:1-9 is on the call of Abraham. God asked him to leave his country, his people and his father’s household and go to the land that he would show him. It was following this that God promised his sevenfold blessing to make him great and a source of blessing to mankind. Abraham complied and left. Then, in the course of the movement, he started realising the blessings. When he reached Canaan, God appeared to him and said: “To your descendants, I will give this land.” He continued, even without full realisation of the promises/blessings.
The Epistle (Rom. 12:1-8) begins the 2nd part of the Roman Epistle, which is a practical application of the 1st part.
The 1st part (chapters 1-11) consists mainly of theological discussions. Paul now goes on to express the actions expected of the Christian following his beliefs and Christian thinking. Theology without lifestyle application is not complete and relevant (cf. Matt. 7:24-27; John 13:17; Rom. 2:13; James 1:22, 25; 2:14-26). Paul clearly teaches free salvation by the grace of God through faith in Jesus, but this free gift is meant to radically change our lives! Salvation is free, but it must be followed by a radical Christlikeness! Faith is known in obedience. As those called to be children of God, we need, to heed by offering ourselves as a spiritual sacrifice, conforming, no longer to the world, but to the kingdom life. It is the beginning of a life of blessedness!
The gospel (Lk 15:11-32) is the parable of the prodigal son. The parable of the prodigal son shows another dimension of God’s call, this time, not to “go” as in the case of Abraham, or the initial “come” that normally precedes the “go” call, but to “come back.” The heeding to the call by the prodigal son changed his situation and he was restored. Indeed, there is an inestimable blessing in heeding God’s call.
“Jesus calls us! By thy Mercies Saviour, make us hear Thy Call.
Give our hearts to Thy obedience Serve and love Thee best of all” (CONH 556:4)
The Venerable Dr Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba, FIMC, CMC is the Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. https://ibrucentre.org
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