All of my children, when they were young, enjoyed the game of jumping off a high place so they could be caught by their father.
My granddaughter has refined the game a little. She, at two and a half, doesn't jump, she falls. She will stand on the counter while her father lies on the floor nearby and simply fall into that space above him, absolutely certain that he will catch her.
She has faith in her father, she trusts him because she knows she is loved and that he is strong enough to always catch her.
I heard a story about another child who stood in the open window of the second storey of his home, a fire enveloping the building and smoke making it impossible to see. The boy could hear his father, from the ground below, calling upon him to jump, saying he would catch him.
'Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.'
All the boy had was his father's voice for he couldn't see that his father was there, ready to save him. To see would have made it so much easier to trust and jump but, nonetheless, he found the faith to follow the voice to safety. He, too, must have been sure of his father's love, to be able to suspend his own fear and trust in the voice that called him.
Abraham was in a similar position when he heard the voice of God telling him to leave everything he knew, everything he had built, in order to go to an unknown land.
How does one leave the security of what we know and seem to have some control over in order to respond to what Paul calls our "holy calling"?
I used to think of faith as a gift from God that makes it possible to take the leap out the window because it gives certainty of security.
I see it differently now. Faith often includes some uncertainty. It is "faith" because we don't have the visible certainty. It isn't faith for me to trust that the chair I sit on exists and will hold me. I know the chair is there and is secure.
Our faith is indeed a gift, but requires our will and trust if we are to exercise it and act from it. We each have a holy calling, "not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace."
If we are to fulfill our calling, as Abraham fulfilled his, we must trust in God's love and risk leaving the known for the unknown.
The Gospel this Sunday is Matthew's account of the transfiguration. Peter, James and John heard the voice of the Father: "This is my Son. . . . listen to him!" The next words are from Jesus: "Get up and do not be afraid."
We all have before us, in this moment, the ability to choose to trust Jesus, to trust our Father and fall into his embrace; to trust the holy calling we have and choose the will of our Father.
(Kathleen Giffin firstname.lastname@example.org)