Rubber, meet Road.

25 05 2012

To get a better understanding of what we mean when we say a sense of calling or vocation, let’s think in general terms first…

Have you ever done something or have been a part of something that brought you so much fulfillment that you could not think of doing anything else?  I mean to the point where what you were doing or were a part of touched you so deeply it is like you are discovering that THAT GREAT BIG  THING is actually a part of you to the very core. That is how I can best describe a sense of vocation.

Well, actually you could think of doing something else with your time and talents, but after having done that GREAT BIG THING THAT WAS SO AWESOME your life would be all right, and you might even be happy, content and comfortably well-off, but you wouldn’t feel complete.    Not everyone has this sense.  Or maybe they do and they just don’t act on it.  It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with a religious life, per se.  One of my dearest friends has spent his entire life promoting the Fine Arts and Music in one form or another.  That is who he is and what he stands for.  That is vocation as well.
As you may have read earlier from the earliest stages of my life, I have been involved with the Church of God in its many varied expressions and felt the stirrings of vocation in my late teens. Due to internal conflicts regarding my sexual orientation and the fact that no expression of the Body of Christ where I felt at home was ready to have an openly gay person serving in ordained ministry, thoughts and aspirations of ministry were put aside until I came to The Episcopal Church. All of this still begs the questions, however, “At what point did I feel the sense of calling? At what point did I sense that God was calling me pursue ordination in The Episcopal Church after all this time?”
One Christmas Day, my parish in New York, was having its regularly scheduled service. Due to an oversight on the acolyte and altar guild rota, I found myself serving as serving as Crucifer, Lector, Acolyte and Chalice Bearer, some of these duties I had not done before! I was able to get through the service with some help from our priests and going by memory of watching those in the altar party. Once the elements of the Eucharist were prepared I took my place alongside the clergy as the Rector began the Eucharist. As the choir and congregation began to sing the hymn “Holy Holy Holy is the Lord,” it was almost as if the veil between heaven and earth had become much thinner. I felt as if I were standing in exactly the right place at the right time and there was nowhere else that I should have or could have been. This sense continued while the Eucharist continued, especially as I offered the chalice to those who came forward to receive. It was this experience, this sense of “NOW” which reawakened my sense of calling which had been dormant for many years. Little did I know that the sense of “NOW” was only the first step to a long process. Much like the muscles in our body, gifts for ministry and leadership which are not put to use need to be put back into shape or even rehabilitated before they may be put to work for the Kingdom.

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