Summary: God has a call on each of our lives and each of us must respond.
“Call and Response…An Eternal Dilemma”
By: Kenneth Emerson Sauer,
Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church,
Newport News, VA
Back in the 1980’s there was a rock band named Twisted Sister that became popular through a video for one of their songs that used to play on MTV.
In the beginning of the video, a father walks into his son’s room…is disgusted to see a Twisted Sister poster hanging on the young boy’s wall…towers over his son and demands: “What are you gonna do with your life?”
The child—guitar in hand-- answers: “I wanna Rock!”
At this, the child metamorphizes into the lead singer of the band…the song begins…and the boy drags his father down the stairs by his hair.
Our lives are full of all kinds of voices calling us into all sorts of directions.
To say the least, things can get awful confusing!
And if we listen to and follow the wrong voice…we can get ourselves into some horrible trouble, and waste an awful lot of time in the process.
There is always the temptation to believe that we have all the time in the world to decide what we are going to do with our lives, whereas the truth of it is…we do not.
We all have but a short life—a mere flash in the pan—and the choice of how we are going to live our lives is an eternal decision—it’s up to us.
And if we let this world make the choice for us we will have listened to the wrong voice.
This world is filled with people who seem to have listened to the wrong voice and are now finding themselves in a situation in which they find no pleasure or purpose in life…and they are running the risk of suddenly realizing someday that they have spent the only years that they are ever going to get in this world doing something that is meaningless.
What a nightmare!!!
But this nightmare is real for millions and millions of us.
Therefore it is so very important that we listen for the right Voice, and follow where that Voice leads.
And that right Voice comes from God.
God calls each and every one of us to use the gifts and graces that He has given us to fulfill His good purpose for us during our short stay on this earth…it’s up to us to listen and act on that call.
Some 2,738 years ago there was a man named Isaiah who heard the voice of the Lord saying to him: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
Isaiah was faced with a mighty call on his life…
…but it wasn’t easy for him.
He had to make a decision, an eternal decision.
Would he respond to God’s call or not?
How many of us have heard God’s call on our lives, but are still unsure of how we will respond?
How many of us feel that we aren’t up to the task of fulfilling God’s will for us?
Have you ever heard one of those omnipresent “Saint Peter Jokes”?
You know how the jokes go.
Someone arrives at the gates of heaven and Saint Peter must decide whether to let them into heaven or not.
The jokes always assume that being allowed into heaven depends on a person’s behavior in life.
It makes it seem like arriving at the gates of heaven and being in the presence of God puts everyone on the defensive.
God is about righteousness.
Morality and works are what matter, and usually the punch line has something to do with that expectation.
As we look at our Old testament Lesson for this morning…well…we see that this is sort of the same kind of thing that Isaiah experiences by being in the presence of God.
He is overwhelmed by his sense of sin.
He sees himself as he truly is…
… “Woe to me!” Isaiah cried.
“I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Unlike the way our world has stripped sin of its true meaning…
…where it has become a matter of making a mistake or an error or a slip up…
…Isaiah’s sense of sin means that his relationship with God is in trouble.
His sins are more than minor ‘slip-ups.’
They are proof that there is a fracture in Isaiah’s relationship with God.
And this is a conclusion that all of us must come to and face before we can allow God to turn us into the people God wants us to be.
Isaiah is terrified!
He, a sinner, has seen God.
He, a man with unclean lips in the midst of an unclean people, is in big trouble.