From the Editor – The Call

by Beth Richardson on April 30, 2012 · 6 comments

The Call cover

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While I was putting together this issue, my dad passed away after an extended battle with Alzheimer’s. As I grieve his death, I celebrate the life of my dad. I received from him many gifts, including a love of music and photography. He was, as a United Methodist pastor, a mentor for me in my call to ministry. So it’s fitting that, as I’m remembering his life, I’m thinking what it means to be called, to follow Christ in the world. (View pictures of my dad are at the end of this post.)

Some of us — like my dad — hear and follow a call to a “set-apart ministry.” In my tradition, there are Elders (my dad) and Deacons (me). There are lay ministries of various types (diaconal ministers, deaconesses, missionaries) and those who keep churches going through gifts of music, teaching, and administration. In the scriptures we find stories of those called to serve God such as Zechariah, a priest and father of John the Baptist (Lk. 1) and Aaron’s sister and prophet, Miriam (Ex. 15).

Saying yes to God’s call sometimes takes a person to places of radical change, danger, and uncertainty. Abram and Sarai left their country and all that was familiar to journey to a different land (Gen. 12). Esther was called to risk her life to save the lives of Jews in Persia during a period of Exile (The Book of Esther). Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John left their fishing nets to follow Jesus and “fish for people” (Mark 1).

But often the call comes to follow God right where we are, fulfilling our calling with the gifts that God has given us. Lydia, a merchant of purple cloth, didn’t leave home or change professions. She was baptized and opened her home to the faithful (Acts 16:14-15). Tabitha (also known as Dorcas) lived her life in Joppa doing “good works and compassionate acts on behalf of those in need” (Acts 9:36). Nimrod was “a great hunter” (Gen. 10:9). Deborah was a nurse (Gen. 35:8). Dan “settle[d] disputes for his people” (Gen. 49:16). Asher grew fine food and supplied delicacies for the king (Gen. 49:20). Joseph was a carpenter called to help raise a child named Jesus (Matt. 1).

Jesus said, “Follow me” (Matt. 4:19), and the trick is figuring out “Where?” and “How?” It’s not always clear. Often, it’s not a life-time gig. The call to “follow me” involves a lifetime of listening, paying attention, and being willing to adjust our path. No matter where we are on our journey of life, we are called to follow.

Many Blessings,
Beth

P.S. We’re excited to announce the digital edition of Alive Now. Subscribers to the digital edition get the same material as in print, plus audio, video, and links. You can read the new Alive Now on your iPhone, iPad, Android, desktop, or laptop. Learn more here.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Katherine O. Cooper May 2, 2012 at 6:21 am

So sorry to hear. My father is my favorite dad as well, and arrives to visit in a few hours. It’s hard to see him age, let alone realize that his health is not as it was…prayers of comfort. ~ Kate

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Beth Richardson May 2, 2012 at 10:15 am

Thank you so much. Have a wonderful visit with your dad. It is really hard to see parents age. But dad taught me so much … and keeps teaching me.

Blessings,
Beth

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Jeannie May 2, 2012 at 7:38 am

Beth, I loved looking at all the photos of you and your Dad. We honor someone’s life by taking the time to look through photos of them, don’t we? It’s our way of hugging them after they’re gone. God bless you and keep you in His care…always.

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Beth Richardson May 2, 2012 at 10:18 am

Thank you, for honoring him this way. Some of those photos I had never seen until recently. My favorites are the photo of him taking a picture — and the one with him painting. I have that painting hanging in the dining room and recognized it when I was looking at photos.

Many blessings to you as well.
Beth

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kj wuest May 16, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Beth, your photos of your dad are wonderful. I am so sorry for your loss…and for the many losses along the way. My mother had Alzheimer’s too. You will remain in my prayers.
Deep peace, kimberly

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Beth Richardson May 25, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Hi, KJ — Thank you for your note. I have been thinking of you as well, as you have gone through the journey of loss once again. Blessings to you. And thanks, Beth

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