The two texts we heard this morning, both speak about vocation and calling. And the choir just sang “Here I Am, Lord,” an anthem inspired by Isaiah’s call. If you compare Isaiah to other prophets in the Hebrew Bible, you’ll find that his response is different from most. There’s a pattern in these call narratives that goes like this: God appears or speaks, like from the burning bush to Moses. Then God issues the call, as in “Go see Pharaoh and tell him to let my people go.” And the response is, “Who, me? You must be mistaken. I could never…” Moses says he’s a poor choice because he stutters. At the end, he pleads, “Please send someone else” (Exodus 4:13).
How do you start off your day? In your waking moments, when you come out of that deep and mysterious place that we inhabit while sleeping, what do you do? On the spectrum between “my waking moments are spiritually rich and satisfying and set the tone for the entire day” to “when my feet hit the floor I put my head down and just power though,” where do you fall? I ask, because I’m convinced that how we begin our day has power to shape how that day goes. And as Annie Dillard reminds us, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
I’ve been struck lately by the lovely pictures I’ve seen of children heading off to their first day of school. Whether it’s preschool or kindergarten or first grade, or middle school or high school or college, these pictures of smiling faces, of brave and wistful and hopeful faces, they move me so much. This time of year brings these threshold moments. This shift from summer to fall brings this big transition time, new beginnings, and endings too. A time of holding on, and of letting go.