Ruminations from members of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee.
Reflection from Bishop John Bauerschmidt
One of the great themes of Epiphany is the call of God. During this season we hear how Jesus comes to a new awareness of call at his baptism, and how Jesus calls the disciples to share his ministry. For a long time, the Church tended to talk about a sense of calling as something clergy and other special people had, but no others; the “rank and file” were just along for the ride! Nothing could be farther from the truth. We are all called by God, into relationship with him and into the fellowship of the Church. We are called, as well, to serve him in the world.
Call is sometimes difficult to discern. At times of challenge, we want to know which way is the way forward, and we may not get a quick answer, or any answer at all. Or we may get an answer, but one that is difficult and problematic. At least, that’s been my experience. But it has also been my experience that in trying to respond to what’s happening around me, the best thing is to say my prayers, chart a course, and be open and responsive to what then happens. Call has a way of sorting itself out, because God is at work in our lives.
Here are some ground rules for call. First is prayer, the living conversation we have with God. Prayer is more than telling God what we want; it also includes listening carefully to what is being said to us by God. The second is spiritual direction, in which we enter into a conversation with another Christian to discern how God is calling us. The third is participation in the faith community, in Word and Sacrament, as we seek God’s grace to respond to the call. If we do these things, and are willing to journey on, then we will experience the reality of God in our lives, and discover that we are called.