In this moment when we are being asked to live out our faith, often in unpopular or even dangerous ways, we would do well to look carefully at Jesus’ teachings to his disciples, as his direction to them became increasingly urgent as they faced the daunting task ahead of them. It’s doubtful they really even had a clue what they were facing, but Jesus spoke plainly and didn’t pull any punches. We may have a better idea of what Christian faith demands of us than they did, but we still have to make a decision about whether or not we will Answer the Call to discipleship.

June 21: The Call to Courage, Matthew 10:24-39
Jesus says some startling things in this passage. Answering the call will require us to find the courage to hold what we have and who we are loosely, to understand what is permanent and what is transient, and to remember that God holds us, even as we face the fear of answering God’s call.

June 28: The Call to Welcome, Matthew 10:40-42
Here Jesus seems to be throwing traditional qualifications out the window and reminding us that answering God’s call means finding God at work in the most unusual places. For us that can mean welcoming different people, but it also can mean opening our hearts to the possibility that God works in ways we don’t find familiar. This can be hard for those of us who find comfort in tradition and institution, but don’t forget the Day of Pentecost—answering the call to follow Jesus means we welcome evidence of God at work even when we don’t expect it.

July 5: The Call to Rest, Matthew 11:16-19; 25-30
The work of discipleship is taxing, and Jesus reminds us here to pace ourselves. As they say, it’s a marathon, not a sprint; we can surely feel that now as we share in the work of major reform our country has needed for decades. As our call is an entire lifetime of living on the margins, embracing a hard and transforming message, we are also called to rest and to make room for each other to rest. This week we hear some of the most comforting words Jesus ever said: “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

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