by Stuart Langshaw
Sunday 9 September will be observed in the Diocese as “Vocations/Calling Sunday.” It will be a day when our attention is given to God’s call to all of us to be involved in some way in God’s loving mission to the world.
God calls some Christians into the ordained ministry. There they serve God as parish clergy, as chaplains to various places, perhaps ministering in a cross-cultural context … the “missionary” call.
God calls many … most Christians … to serve God in their daily lives and routines. They use their gifts and talents to glorify God in their employment. They worship God through their daily work, caring for clients, patients, passengers and colleagues, expressing God’s love in their employment. As members of church congregations they worship God liturgically, and they care for and support the other members of their congregations through their friendship and fellowship. Christians who have retired use their time, talents and interests to serve God through the volunteering they take up, through spending time with family and friends and through the membership of their local church.
When you see God’s call in this way, you see that plumbers and accountants and gardeners and therapists and drivers and doctors and electricians and teachers and printers and artists and all occupations are ways of fulfilling God’s call to us to serve him and his people. “Christian vocation” is not limited to the ordained clergy but applies to all God’s people, whoever they are and whatever they do.
However, the thrust of Vocations/Calling Sunday this year will be the ordained ministry. This is spelled out in Vision 2022, the vision for our Diocese for the next five years.
Here in our Diocese we are blessed with faithful, dedicated bishops, priests, deacons and members of religious orders. We are blessed, too, with committed lay people who play their parts in helping forward the kingdom of God here on earth. Among the lay people there are those whom God will be calling to serve in the ordained ministry or the religious life. Perhaps someone reading this page is such a person.
Make this a matter of your own prayers. Speak in confidence to a priest and to other mature Christians about it. Ask one or two if they will be partners of yours in prayer as you seek to clarify God’s call to you. Continue to play your part in the life of your congregation as a “test” of your commitment to leading and caring. Look for opportunities to expand your Christian experience. And immerse all this in your prayers.
God will definitely call you – perhaps into the ordained ministry – perhaps into continuing your life and work as a faithful, committed lay Christian. This is what Vocations/Calling Sunday in September will be all about.