Jesus said to his disciples, “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit…
(Luke 12:35 NRSV)
Today the Church remembers Ambrose, Bishop of Milan who died in 397. Ambrose was elected bishop during a time of great tension between the Arians and the Trinitarians. When Bishop Auxentius, an Arian, died a successor needed to be named. Ambrose went to the election and while giving a speech began hearing his name being chanted by the crowd that he be called their next bishop. His response was to hide out in a friend’s home until the noise died down. He believed himself to be totally unprepared for the task at hand. He had never had any religious training and had never been baptized. Ambrose eventually emerged under pressure and persuasion and within one week was baptized, ordained and called as Bishop of Milan.
Ambrose is an interesting contrast to the Gospel text for today. He was neither dressed for action nor had his lamp lit! But he was called by God and compelled to respond in spite of his own resistance. There were many around him who could see what was not apparent to him. They held on to that vision for Ambrose long enough that he finally relented, in spite of his best efforts, and grew with grace into a place of enormous historic prominence in the history of the Church.
Where are you hiding this Advent in the face of the One who calls you and equips you for your particular ministry? What gifts for ministry do you see in another that you are willing to call forth, without fatigue, until they catch it for themselves?
In an ideal world, we’d wake dressed for action. It helps to have that call confirmed by a community that loves us. Amen