By Robert Hasselblad
For many years, I taught Sunday School and attempted to explain the nature of God as one who calls us. In our modern sophisticated era, God’s voice is silent. Maybe because we no longer know how to listen, or maybe because the noise of our manufactured lives drowns God out. As a teacher, I tried to get youth to see that God’s power over us and interest in us were not necessarily muted by that silence.
This poem is an attempt to recapture the flavor of those Sunday School lessons. Lessons we have all learned and carry within us as an insight into God’s call.
WHEN GOD CALLS
In Sunday School we learned
God shouts and folks obey.
Noah, gather gopher wood and build you an ark.
For I’m bringing a flood of waters
To cover the earth, to destroy all life.
With you though, I will have a new covenant.
Now start building before the clouds get too dark.
In Genesis God’s throat opened.
Words clear, everything outlined.
Abram, Haran’s got nothing for you anymore.
There’s a place I found down south, where I will
plant you like a seed. I will make of you
a great nation. Leave country and kindred
and together we will define the future.
God liked dramatics too,
a bush aflame and a deep baritone.
Moses! The cries of my people Israel
are a terrible noise. So you must
speak with Pharaoh. Together we’ll break
the chain of their slavery. I’ll reveal
my power to you along the way.
The prophets never had a chance,
they were drafted before birth.
Jeremiah, before you were born I knew
In the womb I shaped you for a prophet.
You never had a choice, for your voice
must ring out with my condemnations.
Let the nations know that I don’t retreat.
The gospels ran the same way.
Angels on hand, God pronounced.
Oh Mary, you’ve found favor with God.
That will be written into the account.
Soon enough you will bear God’s son
And you will name him Jesus.
You can name your others whatever you want.
Jesus had his twelve, each invited
with an assumption they’d be glad to sign up.
Levi, leave your counting table; that’s Rome’s game.
Judas, abandon the rat-pack of zealots.
Boys, drop the nets and let the fish catch themselves.
Sons and husbands, leave your homes.
I’ve got multitudes to feed and storms to tame.
Even risen, Christ was not done calling.
Bright light and loud voice, Saul went down.
Why Saul do you menace me? I am Jesus!
Now that you’re blind I’ll let you see
what I have in mind for you.
You’ll speak to the world, your words
will live forever when you preach for me.
It is never easy, simple or sure.
When God calls, everything is on the line.