By Joanne Gallardo, campus pastor
This week’s theme: Deep in the sea: Called to deep relationship
Once again the Lenten season is upon us, and our theme for this year is “Deep Calls to Deep.” I find this theme causing me to smile in its accuracy, as so many of us have struggled this past year with some aspect of the depth of life. Whether we’ve had a loved one suffer with COVID-19, worry about our own health or wellbeing, or spend our time concerned with what the future holds, it’s almost impossible not to live a “deep” life right now. Currently we’re all looking inward, outward and all around us in ways we haven’t before, moving from the superficial to the profound.
In the worship materials developed by Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada on this theme, they describe what “Deep Calls to Deep” means. What struck me in particular was using this time as a place to figure out what is ours, and what is not ours. More specifically what “….God asks (and doesn’t ask) of us.”
As a Mennonite woman, I’ve internalized that God has a lot to ask of me. I need to serve God. I need to serve others. I need to be devoted to the Church. I need to be a good neighbor. I need to be active in my community. I need to spend time in prayer. I need to go to church and have a profound encounter every Sunday. I need to tell others of the Good News every chance I get.
While these statements aren’t completely off base, they focus on the “me” part of faith quite a bit. So much of faith is focused on what “we” do, what “we are called” to be, and our “fulfilling the call of Jesus.” All truthful things. But, what is God’s to do? Are there things that we don’t control? Are we all parts of the equation of God’s work in the world?
God is the change agent, the catalyst, the beginning of all good things. A lot is asked of us, but we also take on things that are not ours to take on. We are called to serve our neighbor, but the change this makes in the world is God’s. We are called to spend time with our worshipping community, but the profound encounter is God’s, and you are meant to be open to it, not make it happen. Telling others the Good News is part of what we’re called to do, but the change it brings about in others is God’s.
As we start our journey this season, while we wade through the “deep,” let us remember what is ours, and what belongs in the hands of God. We can take some of the pressure off ourselves, and remind ourselves that it’s not all about us, but about the work of God in the world .