Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Maundy Thursday, April 6, 2023 — Evening

By Dan Kelley

Calling Me Home

Read: Joshua 24:15

“Choose ye this day whom ye will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

I was 10 years old when my family moved from Saint Louis to Northbrook Illinois, a suburb about 25 miles north of Chicago. At the time it was a village of about 9000 people. We lived on Ferndale, a two block long street nestled next to the Sommes Woods Forest Preserve. Many children of different ages, different nationalities, and ethnic backgrounds lived on our street. The one thing we had in common in the neighborhood was when Mrs. Johnson rang her bell, play time was over. We all came out of the woods, or off the ball fields, or out of the street and went home when the bell rang.

My mother had her own signal. It was her whistle. She would place her two pinkies in her mouth and blow. It did not matter whether her hands were dirty from working in the garden or they were covered in silk gloves with little pearl buttons. The sound was the same. It was not shrill and it was not real loud. It was a pure tone that went up half a step at the end. It was mom’s whistle and it always got my and my three brothers’ attention immediately. It said, “Come to me now”.

When I was in the Army at Ft Dix, New Jersey, I was in the Philadelphia Airport with about 10,000 other soldiers trying to get home for Christmas. Unbeknownst to me my mother had flown to Teaneck NJ to visit my brother and see her first granddaughter. She was in the airport also and spotted me out of all the other soldiers. She whistled. I immediately came to attention and started searching. I knew that sound. It could only be my mother’s whistle.

Years later I was in a hotel parking lot in Atlanta. My parents were in another hotel across a busy six lane highway when my mother saw me. She whistled. My dad told her that I could not hear her. But I immediately turned around and waved. Dad asked, ”How do you do that?” She said,”That’s my boy. He knows my whistle”.

We inevitably got teased by our friends for our rapid response to the whistle. They said we were trained like Pavlov’s dogs. We did not care. We knew whose call that was and we knew who’s we were. That call belonged to someone who loved and cared for us. Who only wanted the best for us. 

In this Easter season we need to re-examine who’s we are and who is calling us. The someone calling us, loves us and cares for us. And wants the very best for us. As John reminds us, “He goeth before them, and his sheep follow him: For they know his voice.” Are we answering his call like we know his voice?


Dear Good Shepherd, Silence in us any voices but your own so that we may hear your voice and go where you would lead us. Amen.

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