The hymn of the day for 15 January is “Hope of our calling” by Ally Barrett. It follows on from yesterday’s themes of Jesus being called to baptism and service and nuns being called to a life of prayer and work for God, to remind us that all who follow Jesus are answering God’s call. It’s worded very positively, the theme of hope running through it paired with other positive words (courage, strength, grace, faith and Spirit).
We are challenged, in the power of that Spirit, to “bring the gospel to a waiting world”, but also to serve in a practical way (‘washing each other’s feet’ as often practised on Maundy Thursday) and to work for righteousness. This theme links with (and may be inspired by) the Church of England’s “five marks of mission” – to proclaim the Good News; to teach, baptise and nurture new believers; to respond to human need by loving service; to transform unjust structures of society; and to safeguard the integrity of creation.
That balance of specifically religious work with the practical building and sustaining of society that engages people of all faiths and none is what a living faith should look like. Christians are generally not to be set apart from society (the monastic calling that we looked at yesterday is only for the few) but should, as Jesus put it, be ‘salt in the earth and a light to the world’.
The last verse marks this as a communion hymn by reference to the sacrament, and appropriately draws on the deacon’s words of dismissal at the end of the communion service – we “go in peace to love and serve the Lord”. To which we respond, “in the name of Christ, Amen”.