December 10, 2012

Speaking the Call Out Loud

On Sunday we celebrated St. Lydia’s. This is the church I attend, which combines liturgy and a meal. The gathered community blessed the ministry of St. Lydia’s, then installed our newly ordained pastor, and blessed the ministries of the new leadership team and the community coordinators. The room was filled with bishops and priests and pastors, congregants, and friends. We sang and prayed and shared a meal. It was one of the most moving and meaningful services in which I have ever participated. 

An important part of the evening was standing before the gathered community and speaking the Call to our pastor and the community and the leadership out loud. The people gathered then affirmed each other with a resounding, “We will.” There was something that felt joyful and necessary about speaking the call to a specific ministry out loud, and being affirmed by the community. 

Discernment is difficult. It can be hard to find a calling with the myriad of choices we are faced with. We can live almost anywhere, do almost anything (or at least try). Where is our place in this community, in this world and in our own lives? How do we know we are on the right track? 

We often talk about calling and vocation, but it’s easy to leave each other to flail around. We all need a affirmation, support, and sometimes someone to tell us we’re headed in the right direction.

The community at St. Lydia’s is a fairly small one, and so we know each other well. We can see many of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The community that knows its members can help people find their way. This can happen through small groups or individual relationships, but it seems to me that it is an important part of being a community.

And when we find our way, no matter how small or large our ministry, we should speak it out loud, acknowledge it in the presence of the community. 

The atmosphere was warm and full of love despite the drizzle and cold outside. This is the way discernment should happen, in a deep and committed community, where we can acknowledge and support each person and each ministry.