Many quote this passage to support pro-life politics. Paul Ricouer, a late 20th century philosopher of religion, saw in it the paradigm of the prophetic call: how God’s calling empties us of our selfhood and identifies us as instruments of the Word. On my internship, I thought it might make a good motto for ministry. These interpretations remind me of Luther’s contention that God’s nature is to create something from nothing and that through the cross God humbles us to nothing in order to make us something.
So it seems in my calling. Like Jeremiah, who virulently wished he had been aborted because the word he delivered held so much pain (Jeremiah 20:17), I have often wished for a different life. That early enthusiasm for “being consecrated before I was born” quickly shifted to “I do not know what to say!” and then to a silencing fear that my words might indeed “break down and overthrow.”
But then comes the last call-the calling from the very first: to speak the word of God which builds and plants, the same word which gives the prophet life and self, which removes sin and recreates, which claims us for God’s own and calls us to God’s love of all.
*Evangelical Lutheran Worship, #696
Lord, thank you for calling us "o'er the tumult of our life's wild, restless sea."* Amen. — RB