It’s a hot word around these parts. Seminary parts, that is.
They say that 4 letter words are bad — and sometimes I feel that this one should be added to that category. Call. It’s so loaded, so powerful, so abstract, and so so fragile. It’s one of the things that seminary is supposed to be all about — finding your call.
Last night Frank Yamada, our seminary president, shared a few things with our class about call and vocation as we first-year students dig deep into our lives and our souls to figure out our calling in this crazy, mixed up world.
He shared a call story from the classic movie, The Blues Brothers:
Sometimes I wish I had that kind of call. The call where a strong beam of light shines down from the heavens and embraces me with an epiphany that makes my soul complete. The call that makes me dance with uncontrollable joy. The call that permeates others through presence and allows them to join in the dance with me. A call with such clarity that questions are irrelevant and energy is able to be wholly spent on the call rather than the discernment process.
Unfortunately, this is not how my call has worked out thus far.
I’ve learned that some calls are subtle. Some calls are whispers. Some calls keep you awake overnight and won’t let you rest until you find the answer. Some calls happen over time. Some calls start as a tiny seed and come to fruition with unintentional yet exceptional gardening from mentors, friends, and family. Some calls are convicting.
In my own experience …. these are the calls that are most common. Take a look at our biblical figures like Moses, Esther, Samuel, Jeremiah — all of them great leaders, and all of them hesitant with their calls. Their calls weren’t easy or popular. Some were realized more quickly than others.
All the callee’s did have one thing in common though — they all heard and answered God’s calling for their lives. It might not have happened in the way they had planned or envisioned. It might not have brought them riches or gold, or even made them popular … but callings they followed.
As I think about my own call and whatever that might turn out to be for my life … I am comforted and encouraged by all those who have heard and answered calls before me. All of those saints who have paved the road prior to my own …. I want to be a part of them. I want to walk with those saints who have encouraged me to find my calling in this life. Just as Sara Grove says, ‘and when the saints go marching in … I want to be one of them….”
What call are you answering?