Called to Serve: When God Calls

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.


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.


  1. Jan Pence says

    Thanks, Robert. Powerful!

  2. Elaine Rodning says

    What a clear message. I hear God every day in little ways but He is still with me and I thank God. Wish I were a poet! Elaine

  3. Char Leone says

    I love it! It helps us reflect on a wonderful narrative. Thank you Robert.

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