my identity is like water
which changes permanently its color
influenced by its environment
if the color stayed the same
I would already be dead in this life
because life means change
I know it by myself: I plan this or that, think about stuff and than yet everything comes different. This quote is from John Lennon: Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
But you still have to think and to plan your life?!
Of course – and we can’t help doing it. But how optimistic is the assumption, we have our luck in our own hands. We speak of “time frame”, when the iron is still hot and we can forge our luck. The “one” chance, the “one” job. “The” wife, “the” man to live with. The “one” date, that decides all.
But when I look back I however have to say, that’s simply wrong. Relax. There are infinite many possibilities. We ourselves narrow our lives, because we are fixated on a special occupation or we have fallen in love with a certain girl. We idealize our dream job or dream girl and don’t notice that we don’t fit together at all. Maybe we do it so, because we cannot live without a dream or a goal.
If we are Christians and pray that God may show us the occupation which fit to us, actually nothing can go wrong, right? For me was the occupation “pastor” such a “dream job”. Since then many years passed by. You hear a lot about “calling” in Christian circles. Yes, I had heard “the call”, felt called to become a pastor and was very certain inside.
Now, over 20 years later I’m still no pastor. “Thank God!” I say. And it doesn’t look like as I ever would become a pastor. This occupation is for me as far as the occupation as German Chancellor.
And it doesn’t look like I would become it ever. It rather looks like I would go back in my original commercial occupation. But if I hadn’t dreamed my dream and if I hadn’t tried to live my dream, today I wouldn’t be the one I am today. I wouldn’t have studied theology, many other life decisions would have fallen totally different.
Now everybody can think for him / herself, where he would be, if he or she hadn’t followed his or her dream? Would his / her life be – a nightmare?
Or did you decide yourself for a job with which you earn enough to live on without following your dream – and you are even happy? When I think of my father, who as teenager wanted to become an opera singer, but then made a career as salesman… And finally he still was a happy man, who found his fulfillment in his job.
And what is now with “my calling”?, about which I talked earlier? What is, if all those years weren’t lost, because they didn’t flow in the occupation “pastor”, but just this whole time would be my calling? It nearly seems to me to be so…
Of which occupation did a young, pious Jew dream 2000 years ago? We know too little personal about Jesus to answer this question in relation to him. But one thing we know: Jesus didn’t “stick to his last”.
We know his calling story from the New Testament:
9 In those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
10 Immediately coming up from the water, he saw the heavens parting, and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
11 A voice came out of the sky, “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”(Mk 1:9-11, WEB)
God inspires Jesus. It’s about much more than a job with which you earn enough to live on. Don’t you know then, that it is about more than what you should dress, eat and drink? Look at the birds of the sky, God our heavenly father feeds them, although they don’t sow and harvest. Life is much more than that, but is about finding your fulfillment in God, your father.
And Jesus, fulfilled by the Holy Spirit, lives this hearty oneness with God. God’s love fulfills Jesus and flows over to his fellow humans. What would I have given to be there? All would have to… but only the fewest recognize him. The humans are too different from Jesus.
The individual, you, always Jesus saw the individual. You, beggar, You, blind man, You, whore, You, demoniac, yes, You are meant. Outsider, tramp woman, convict, lost black sheep. Yes, you are meant, you are called, you are wanted. Say yes. Find you fulfillment in God. Follow me. My yoke is easy and my burden is light.
But the voice of love sounds too foreign to the most. The crowd shouts: To the cross with him!
Crucified, died and buried. On the third day rose from the dead.
19 When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were locked where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the middle, and said to them, “Peace be to you.”
20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad when they saw the Lord.
21 Jesus therefore said to them again, “Peace be to you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”
22 When he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit! (John 20:19-22, WEB)
Last week at a Christmas party: A questionnaire with multiple-choice questions which deal with Christmas is handed out to young adults between 20 and 50 years. With questions like “When was the Advent wreath invented?” “Answer a, b or c? Another question was “What did the shepherds give to the Jesus child in the manger?” Answer a: “gold, incense, myrrh” answer b: “a little sheep”. All answered “a little sheep”. But I hadn’t read the question exactly. I only saw “give” and “gold, incense, myrrh” and answered the question, which every child in Sunday school can answer. The 20 adults including the teacher have to be convinced here in the country of Luther (Saxony) that the question was wrong. Of course it must be “Magi” instead of “shepherds”. These anecdote which isn’t funny, tells you more about Christianity in some parts of Germany as every statistics.
Besides that, I like the idea that the shepherds give a little sheep to Jesus. What can I give to Jesus? Something that does please him more than gold, incense, myrrh? What can I still give to him at all? I don’t even have a little sheep for him. What can you give to him?
The greatest gift for him is that we come to him.
“Come with everything that’s on your mind, give me your sadness, I was sad too, give me your doubts, I doubted too, give me your guilt, I want to forgive you. Yes, come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”