By Revd Canon Geraldine Pond, director of vocations for the Diocese of Derby
Do you have a vocation? You may think not – but I suggest that you do!
Vocation is a word which is most often associated with being ordained but Vocation is not first and foremost about being a vicar!
Perhaps a better word to describe vocation is a “call”.
Christians all have a vocation! We are all called primarily through our baptism when we enter into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and are invited by him to shape our lives and follow him - “the way the truth and the life”.
Jesus came to show us what it is to be a fully human - human being…. Being human is about living in relationship with each other and with God; the God who created the world who loves us totally and perfectly.
Being human is especially about living in relationship; it’s about being able to love and to receive love from others and from God. In our daily/family life we are called to live in relationship which each other - to be a parent or child, a husband or wife, a brother or sister, friend or partner.
Our vocation may be to live in a family group or in a community or as a single person.
Some are called to be lay, some to be ordained.
Becoming more the person God created us to be
Our relationships and experiences of life shape us and make us the person we are becoming.
Some of life’s experiences are tough and difficult; it's not always easy to understand or make sense of things but nothing is wasted.
It's often through these moments that we learn more about ourselves and others.
And as we reflect on things that happen to us, we may discover more about God; who is with us through every good moment and every tough one.
Some of the hardest and most disappointing moments are the times of greatest learning.
In these moments we may experience a deepening of our relationship with God as we meet the human face of God in Jesus Christ and discover that human beings are also able to hope. Hope and imagine things differently.
Vocation may also be understood through the work we do; through the way we offer our gifts and talents back to God in service in response to his love for us.
Vocations come in many shapes and sizes, as many and varied as the people who are called and gifted do them; too many to include all of them here; some called to use gifts of hospitality and welcome, others music, poetry, mathematics, sport or the arts.
What is God's plan for you?
Some are called to be nurses and doctors, teachers, bankers, shop workers and so on - the list is endless; some of us at times have “no work” or paid employment and that can be hard in a culture where earning money is a priority....and some may be called to the religious life as a nun or monk…or indeed a vicar!
Vocation is about “call”, and for Christians is specifically about call by God to a particular area of ministry or work that is not understood as just a “job” but a way of being and living.
So, we give thanks at all times for those who respond to God's call to serve as members of the body of Christ in whatever way that emerges.... recognising that discerning vocation is not a “one off event” but a “lifelong” process which needs our active attention and prayer. Someone to accompany us on the journey - a spiritual director or guide can be helpful.
Listening, hearing and responding to God's call can feel like a risky/scary moment but often leads to a sense of deep inner peace and wholeness; a realisation and confidence of who we are in Christ.
Vocation is much more than being a vicar; it’s about becoming more the person God created us to be.
Vocation does not say the same for ever but changes through life; it is ongoing.
My role as Director of Vocations in the Diocese of Derby is about encouraging people to listen to God, to hear his voice and call and offer themselves in service back to God with gratitude and thankfulness.
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