Once upon a time I was a college student. I know it seems like everything I write lately begins that way, but evidently I am in a season of nostalgia. Anyway, the year was 1996. Mid-terms were upon us and as a freshman, my colleagues and I were looking for a way to blow off some steam. Thus the great Benson Hall Royal Rumble was born. It was really quite a simple concept. An individual would stand on the font lawn of our dorm and begin to yell at/taunt one of their friends or acquaintances until they acquiesced, exited the dorm and engaged in Greco-Roman grappling that involved a little bit of giggling and a lot of hilarity. The newly assigned role of the called out one after the altercation? To call someone else out. And this continued well into the evening…or at least until it got too dark to see. One of my favorite moments of the evening was when my good friend Scottie Acuff who was blessed with diminutive stature (Maybe about 4′ tall) called out the 6’8″ Henry Sweeney and we all enjoyed a moment meant for the ages.
This is still probably one of my favorite memories from college. It was such a weird and cool occurrence all in one. And the feeling one got when they were called out was awesome. So many of us hung out of windows just waiting for our opportunity to be called out; secretly knowing in the back of our minds who we wanted to call out. I am not really a student of Biblical Greek. I know enough words to fake it, but I wouldn’t consider myself proficient. But there is one word that I am drawn to for obvious reasons and it is the word for church. The word is ekklēsia and was taken from a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place. In other words…the called out ones. I’m reminded of the passage from 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” As the church we are chosen, royal, holy, special…called out. So what do we do with that?
One of the reasons the Benson Hall Royal Rumble of 1996 was so legendary was that it was self-replicating. If you were called out, you then had a responsibility. You now had to call someone else out. I think as the church sometimes we have forgotten that we have a responsibility to call out. We are called out not to sit back and relish the privilege of being God’s children but to call out to the rest of the world and remind them that they are God’s children as well. We are called out in order to be a light that calls others out of darkness. And maybe, when they are called out, they might know what it means to feel special enough to call others out as well. So my question for us today…what are we waiting on? The ruckus has begun and people are waiting to be called out. Let’s get ready to rumble!