by Fr. Jonathan Hemmings


1 Corinthians 1:25,26 … because the foolishness of God is wiser than men and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty not many noble, are called."

When God calls someone to do His Will it requires obedience and faith. The example of Abraham, Moses and Prophets of the Old Testament reveals that despite human reticence, unworthiness and doubt those who respond albeit with trepidation to the Divine Will in stepping into the darkness are strengthened and acquire the Light of God. Abraham was told to uproot himself and his family from his countryand to travel to a promised land. Moses was told to go back to Egypt and face the greatest nation on earth. Jeremiah was told to go to preach to God's people and at first made the excuse that he was too young. No less in the New Testament we see the requirement of obedience for those who are called that same undivided commitment. The cost of discipleship means taking hold of the commission given by Christ and moving forward in faith without looking back.

Lk 9:62 "No one, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

The Parable of the Mustard Seed in Lk 13 illustrates how that which is small and vulnerable can become great and strong. The seed sown in the darkness of the soil is warmed by faith and refreshed through obedience and grows toward the light. The Parable of the Leaven in the same chapter of the Gospel illustrates how in the making of bread the yeast interpenetrates the dough. So the righteous bring about the Kingdom of God by the power of the Gospel and through the influence of the All-Holy Spirit of God. Wherever God has called His followers to go, He has gone with them whether it was the desert of Egypt or the northern wastes of Siberia. For some, God's foolishness has taken extreme forms. Daniel the Stylite was called to live on a platform for half of his earthly life. David of Thessalonika lived in a tree. Yet these men of God were beacons of light pointing men and women to the True Light.

When we confess our faith we begin: "I believe in One God.... "Believe comes from the old English word "lief" or love. I love God and am His beloved. Our faith, our trust, our hope is bound up in love. Thus our faith is a living relationship with the One who is. It is far, far more than believing that there is a God. We believe in Him not about Him. Indeed, trying to look for proofs for God is like eating soup with a fork or trying to estimate a mother’s love with a calculator. It cannot be done. Our faith is a mystery which is revealed to each and all who are obedient to God's commandments.

Our Lord said: "Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord shall enter the kingdom of Heaven but he who does the Will of my Father in heaven."

To be a Christian means being, doing, serving, loving. It is a verb rather than a noun. Abraham went, Moses proclaimed, Jeremiah preached, but we should not confuse the busyness of religion with the business of God. Daniel the Stylite and David the Dendrite were no less obedient to God's foolishness. Our life of faith means that we have been "called out "of the world (ekklesia) so that we may as the apostle Paul says:

"speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory." 1 Corinthians 2,7

Wherever God calls us we must go, whatever He speaks to us we must do.


June 2000