“Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.” – John 12:28-30 (NRSV)
His place and his mission were clear—clear in their brutality, wonder and possibility, but clear. He was not comfortable with what was to come. But he had a sense of where it was headed and what it would glorify.
The folks around him did not enjoy the same clarity. Maybe God saw this. And God sent signs. Even a voice offered an endorsement loud enough for all to hear.
The crowds wondered: What is this? Thunder? An angel? Terrifying sounds that evoke … what?
I hear Jesus’ response: “That voice you heard? The sound that just gave an arresting, incontrovertible testimony? That voice wasn’t for me. Because I already knew. It was for you. Because you refused to understand.”
It may very well be that God has placed a call on us, and we may have heard it but seen very little support. And maybe God has offered supporting documentation to the ones around us to recognize that call, too.
Once you know? The corroborating calls are for them, not for you. You know that creation needs care and that you have a role in that. The thunder is not for you. I’d guess that you know. Somewhere in you, you know very deeply, what God has to say.
But if you don’t?
Then the next angel’s for you.
God, help me hear and see just as clearly as Jesus did. Send help if I need it. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.