I've been doing more thinking, praying, writing about vocation again -- I keep coming back to this, so urgently that it clearly part of my own calling to do something about helping other Christians realize that we are all "called" to some work, some diakonia/ministry/service to the world. I am so aware that the more we grow in Christian faith, the more we practice worship, hospitality, discernment, prayer, compassion --however we experience those practices--, the more aware we become that we are "called" to something larger than our own individual lives. That who we are is a part of something greater and more hopeful, and making ourselves available to that is urgently important.
Vocation, in other words, is not mainly about "what am I supposed to do in the future," or "how I'll make my living," or "what I'm going to do with this [training/experience/college major etc.]--though all of that comes up. But it starts with where I see the activity of God in my life right now. The practice that goes with this is discernment -- learning to listen for God. That requires self-awareness, prayer, and a community I can trust to help me sort out who I am, what I want, where I am restless and what gives me joy -- those are all clues to my part in the greater work that God is doing in the world through us.
This is a grand and vague way of putting what the gospels portray as Jesus' call to discipleship, the call to follow his example and to discern what He continues to be doing, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in our daily lives, even when that is hard to see. I am sure it's important for all of us to be practicing discernment, in the sense of listening for God in all aspects of our lives. I'll post some more about this another day. . . .
Browsing some resources on the national Episcopal Church website I came across what seems to me to be a very good website for ongoing practices of discernment and also for exploring difficult questions of faith and practice - it's called "explorefaith"-- geared toward young adults but actually it seems to me there is something here for everyone. I wonder if any readers of this blog have checked it out ?
- Kathleen Henderson Staudt
- I work as a teacher, poet and spiritual director at a number of institutions in the DC area. My teaching focuses in various ways on writing, poetry, Spirituality and Christian vocation and ministry - especially from the point of view of the laity. I also offer classes and retreats encouraging people to explore their inner lives, engage their creativity and reflect on their beliefs about God, vocation, and how we can discern and pursue new ways to transform our broken world. I enjoy speaking of faith in the secular academy as well as reminding those preparing for ministry in the Church that our primary purpose is to love and serve the world beyond the church's doors. I love helping people to grow in faith and to find their own voices, and I also love encouraging them to use their minds. I see no contradiction between these impulses, believing as I do that faith, reason and creativity work together.