Devotion by Communications Director Troy Kehm-Goins.

Read Isaiah 55:1-11 and Zephaniah 3:14-20.

These passages are the fifth and ninth readings of the twelve Old Testament readings that are part of the “salvation history” we hear during the Vigil of Easter.

I chose them because they speak to me of the notion of call in two ways: one broadly and one rather particular to myself that hopefully points back to the former.

In these passages, I hear the importance of the “Presence of the Lord” within the calls that God issues to each of us.

In the Isaiah text, “Salvation Freely Offered for All,” we are each invited to a feast that God provides for us, where we are called to experience rich food, mercy, pardon, and purpose. And that calling to new life for each of us is exemplified by God’s calling of David to be in covenant with God, to be “a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.” God is present to us and to King David, as God calls us to be in relationship with God. And that reminds me of when King David dances before the Ark of the Covenant, expressing the joy he feels in the presence of God (2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19).

In the Zephaniah text, “Gathering of God’s People,” we are, once again, each called to God’s presence, where God “will change [our] shame into praise and renown in all the earth.” God will rejoice over us, renew us, and sing to us, firmly planted in our midst. And that reminds me of when God calls the people of God to build the Tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, the Tent of the Congregation, in order that God may dwell amongst them (Exodus 25: 1-30).

I have been called to be a husband and a father and a member of a faith community (Mountain View Lutheran) and a Communications Director. I have been given gifts of writing and art, further called to be a poet and an artist, but often uncertain of exactly how to use those gifts within each of these callings. But, in the midst of our current times of uncertainty, I feel called to share my gift of art with others to express the “presence of the Lord” that surrounds me when I am afraid, that gives me hope when I despair, that comforts me when I am anxious.

I share with you two of the pieces of art I have recently created—one depicting the Isaiah/Second Samuel texts and the other depicting the Zephaniah/Exodus texts. I created them as part of a series of “Easter Vigil” paintings, primarily to keep my head and heart and hands occupied rather than focused on things in the world I cannot control, but also to remind myself of God’s presence in my own life. I posted them to social media, in order to share them with friends and acquaintances, as a way to invite conversation about the pieces, and perhaps to “quietly” witness to what God is doing in my life, as well as theirs.

So, I ask you to read and reflect upon the texts. I ask you to view and think about the two pieces of art I created. I ask you try to answer these questions:

  • Where do you feel the “presence of the Lord” in your own life?
  • How have you been called by God?
  • What gifts have you been given by God?
  • How might you share your gifts, your calling(s), and the presence of God with others?

Images:

“Salvation Freely Offered to All,” watercolor, India ink, papercut, and iridescent calligraphy ink on 6″ x 6″ watercolor paper.

“Gathering of God’s People,” watercolor, India ink, and iridescent calligraphy ink on 6″ x 6″ watercolor paper.