Pushing old boundaries

Daily Reading for August 19

Over and over, God’s call to us means pushing old boundaries, embracing outsiders, giving up the notion that there is not enough of us to go around. We may resist; we may even lose our tempers, but the call of God is insistent, as insistent as the Canaanite woman who would not leave Jesus alone. The call of God keeps after us, calling us by name, until finally we step over the lines we have drawn for ourselves and discover a whole new world on the other side. . . .

The best lesson, I suppose, is that God’s face can turn up anywhere, and especially on the far side of the lines we draw to protect ourselves—in the face of a Canaanite woman, or a person with AIDS, or in any of the other faces that turn toward us seeking help, seeking care, seeking relationship with us that we are reluctant to give. The call of God is insistent, and whenever we limit who we will be to other people or who we will let them be for us, God gets to work, rubbing out the lines we have drawn around ourselves and calling us into the limitless country of his love. We may well formulate new limits and draw new lines, but none of them last very long, because that is the way it is when people have been called out by God. Once God has called us out there is no going back—whatever we choose to do—God never calls us back behind our lines.

From “Crossing the Line” in The Seeds of Heaven: Sermons from the Episcopal Series of the Protestant Radio Hour by Barbara Brown Taylor (Forward Movement Publications, 1990).

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