CBF Field Personnel

The Summons

By Christine

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.
-Frederick Buechner


Several months ago, a friend and I sat in a circle of middle-schoolers at CBF’s General Assembly. We’d been asked to talk about the work we do and the places we live, and as we talked, the conversation turned to a discussion of calling. We listened to the things each of these students were passionate about, the things they care about most in the world. Then we shared our favorite Frederick Buechner wisdom with them – the concept of vocation as calling. We wanted to make sure they knew that calling didn’t just mean working on a church staff or in cross-cultural ministry somewhere far from home (although it can be that too). 

God has called and is calling and will continue to call each of us. Our vocations might all look different. God calls some to be stay-at-home parents, some accountants, some doctors or nurses, others teachers, and still others bank tellers or hospitality workers. Some of us find our calling in our full-time, professional vocation, others of us find it in our free time or our volunteer hours. We find the person God is calling us to be in the soccer coach or the youth Sunday School teacher or the reading partner or the caring neighbor or the engaged grandparent or the selfless friend. 

However, life is busy and comfort is alluring. Sometimes, many times perhaps, it’s easier to close ourselves off from this calling, to ignore it, to stay just busy enough that we never take the time to stop and listen to the place God is calling us. We talk and ask and believe in our prayers, but too often we fail to slow down, to pause, to listen to the voice of God leading us, guiding us to the next right thing that is ours, and only ours to do. That thing is sometimes big, sometimes simple, but each time significant. Last month, I stood on stage, as friends and church partners laid hands on me. Surrounded by the echo of hundreds who promised to love and nurture and support me as I went. This is the next step in the life and calling of the Church: a fulfillment of the promise to nurture and raise the babies we dedicate, a new promise to love and support the ones we send out to places near and far in the name of the Church, to embody the love of God in the world.

And as meaningful as it was to feel the weight of that promise on my shoulders, this calling isn’t just for those of us in full-time vocational ministry, it’s for all of us as beloved children of God and disciples of Jesus Christ. As CBF commissioned their chaplains and field personnel, we sang these words together, and I’ve been letting the lyrics replay, sitting with them, letting them sink in. Maybe you can take them with you today too? To listen to where and who God is calling you. Because God is calling you. To pay attention to the things that give you life and to go do them. To use the faith you’ve met in a living God to reshape the world. 

The Summons: 
Will you come and follow me?
Will you come and follow me 
if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know
and never be the same?

Will you let my love be shown?
Will you let my name be known,
Will you let my life be grown
in you and you in me?

Will you let the blinded see 
if I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free 
and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean
and do such as this unseen,
and admit to what I mean 
in you and you in me?

Will you love the “you” you hide
if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside
and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found
to reshape the world around,
through my sight and touch and sound
in you and you in me?

Christine serves as a CBF field personnel on the Africa/Middle East Team. Learn more about her ministry at www.cbf.net/christine. 

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