"Jesus calls us; o'er the tumult of our life's wild, restless sea,
Day by day his voice is sounding, saying 'Christian, follow me.'"
- Cecil Frances Alexander (and the text to a familiar hymn)
I always thought the first bit was, "Jesus calls us over the tumult...", but if you look at the punctuation, it's actually just, "Jesus calls us." Then it goes on to say his voice is calling our every day, amidst our crazy lives, asking us to follow him.
Jesus calls us. It's a pretty simple statement, but really quite deep when you think about it. I've been reading a couple of books about the Apostles' Creed that Gray lent me, and one of them talks about how, when we say, "he descended into hell," we are talking about the fact that Jesus died and was without even the presence of God. The author then talks about how he himself also has felt the absence of God at times in his life. Have you ever felt a time in your life where despite praying and coming to church, you still felt like God was somehow absent? Have you tried to "self-medicate" by reading your Bible more or signing up for as many small groups and mission projects as you can?
I don't know about you but my life is littered with these periods of "absence". It's not that God gave up on me, or that I turned away from God. They are just periods of time where I felt disconnected from God in one way or another. I suspect many of us have been through this. Even in this apparent absence or silence from God, the words to this familiar hymn are loud and resounding: "Jesus calls us." Even when we feel disconnected, even when we feel that maybe we aren't doing enough and so that's why we feel the absence of God, Jesus is still calling us. And I like to think it's not a generic, form letter-like call. Rather, I think Jesus calls each one of us, individually, by name, and in a tone that we responded to well. How is Jesus calling you? How will you respond?