04 August 2005

When were you called?

I can't answer that question in a simple, pat way, because God has been calling me all my life. (I also don't like how it privileges religious vocational callings over everything else God calls us to be, or those who are vocationally called to teach, or to heal, or to do whatever wonderful things God asks of them and graces their lives with ... but that's a post for another day!)

God called me out of the Unitarian Universalist Church into the vibrant and living Body of Christ. I became an Episcopalian when I was 12, because I believed. I will always be grateful that my parents were able to support my conversion, not only with their practical help but with their blessing. I found the truth in Christ, and I believed. God called me through the people that I met and knew, the relationships that nurtured my emergent faith, and the support that others offered.

God called me back when I fell away from the Church after the Oklahoma City Bombing. New in my faith, I could not understand how God could allow such a terrible thing to happen, to my friends and their families. I lived at the time 20 miles to the south, and I had friends who lost their parents. I lost my faith, but God still called me. Eventually, I paid attention.

I first felt a calling to a religious vocation when I was 15. I had never met a woman priest (or a female pastor or minister of any sort, for that matter). I had no idea that women could answer a vocational call in the world... as in, outside a convent. "I like boys," I informed God. "You can't possibly be serious." And I stopped listening.

I managed to tune God out for a while, but He's relentless. I met women who were in discernment, in seminary, and in the priesthood. God kept calling, revealing their lives as an example and an instruction to me. I had doubts, I thought (and still think sometimes) that I'm not good enough, not churchy enough, too sarcastic, too irreverent, too ... something for this calling. But God keeps after me.

He's always calling. He's always reaching out with arms of love from the cross. He's calling each and every one of us into something deeper, each day and in every way. He never gives up on redeeming every one of us. No matter how often we reject the redeeming message of the good news... no matter how we damage His creation, each other, and pretty much everything in the way of what we want... no matter how far we fall... He is always working in our midst, in our lives, and in our hearts to bring us into the fullness of life.

He calls us from doubts into His love, from darkness into the light every day... every moment of our lives. How will we answer? Will we turn away, tune Him out, reject His calling? Or will we live into the mystery of a calling, whatever it may be? Will we welcome the doubts and the fears? Calling is not easy.. recognizing the presence of grace in our lives is never easy, and sometimes that grace seems like a burden. Sometimes it IS a burden. But ultimately, we all are called.. and the God who never ceases to love, to renew, and to invite is calling on us.

May your calling, whatever it may be, challenge you, enrich your life, and allow you to fulfill your potential as a child of God. Amen.