Saturday, December 22, 2018

Thoughts Before Dawn

"You're getting ready to retire, and here you are!" the nurse said. I answered, "The Director still takes call."

So, here I am,  up before dawn, because even in my waning days in active chaplaincy, I still am taking call. That seems hardly of note, except that the calendar on my wall says that this morning so early starts an Ember Day, the third of the Advent season. Notably, the prayer on the Book of Common Prayer for the third day of any Ember Day series, is "For all Christians in their vocation."

Which has to say something to me in this early darkness. I am in the midst of my vocation changing, but that doesn't mean it's going away. I don't know just what it will look like, but I will continue to have a vocation. God will still be calling me, not just to ministry, but to the specific ministry of a specific moment.

That's hardly a new thought, to me or to anyone else. I have a long history of encouraging others by saying, "The question isn't 'To what is God calling me;' but 'To what is God calling me now'" That Pentecostal streak in me can even see that as a moment-by-moment question. That call that I hear in Brother Lawrence to "practice the presence of God" embraces that the call is constant, whether whispered, stated aloud, or grabbing me by the scruff of the neck.

And so we pray for all Christians in their vocation:

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before you for all members of your holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

even as I pray now to discover mine.

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