Sunday, January 13, 2008

John the Baptist, the tax collectors, and the soldiers: on a mission from God

Today's Sunday School lesson was on John the Baptist -- not on the baptism of Christ, but on preparing the way (Luke 3). Tax collectors and soldiers were among those who came to John to be baptized. He told the tax collectors not to collect more than required, told the soldiers not to extort money but to be content with their pay. He told all the people who had extra to share with those in need.

So here is the question I put to my Sunday School class: Of all the people we read about today (John the Baptist, all the people who came to him, the tax collectors, the soldiers), who was on a mission from God?

First answer out was of course John the Baptist. True, of course. But after the other people talked to John, they were on a mission from God too. They were sent into the world with instructions and a purpose that would change the world. (What, you don't think honest soldiers and tax collectors and repairmen would change the world? Then tell me where you live.)

We're all on a mission from God. Not to downplay John the Baptist or any preacher of the word: part of his mission from God was to help everyone else see their mission from God.


japhy said...

The homily this morning from Fr. Aidan dealt with the same theme, since this is also Vocation Awareness Week. The anointing of Jesus is for all of us, too: whether we are called as prophets in the womb (as Jeremiah) or later in life (as Amos), God has a path for our lives, a vocation for each of us.

Weekend Fisher said...

Definitely. Though in my congregation there's an over-emphasis on "calling" as "called to be a full-time religious worker", which is not true to our heritage on a couple of fronts, either of the priesthood of all believers or the sacredness of all honest work. I wonder if it's because of the pastor shortage, but the net effect of the pastor shortage has been a little bit of distortion in theology ...

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF