August. Autumn. Time after Pentecost-Autumn. Autumn usually brings us back into what some might consider a normal rhythm of life. Will autumn bring a return to school? I wonder as I write this 30 day of June. Will the choirs be back in session? Would it not be wonderful to hear their sounds again? Maybe we could add the sound of a guitar or bass along the way. On the other hand, a flute would sound wonderful, also. Our world has certainly been full of surprises.
As we think about Autumn, we think about students, teachers, choir members, handbell ringers, Sunday School teachers, the organist, the music director, council members, Boy/Cub Scouts, etc. The thought of vocation comes to mind. What is vocation? Paul was called in Acts 9 and chosen for a new way of life—a life as a witness for Jesus, Yet, for the early church to have grown as fast as it did, many ordinary believers must have taken the initiative to share the good news about Jesus. They did not depend on leaders to do most of the work.
Martin Luther taught that all Christians are called through baptism to be “priests” in Christ’s church. Luther named this the “priesthood of all believers” and said that being a good and honest butcher or shoemaker” is as holy a vocation as being a priest of the church. I find this to be important in each of our lives. In addition, I find this belief to be most important in teaching our children. If they are a student—this is their vocation. God has called them and being a student at school is just important as being a pastor at church.
Lutherans teach that believers are called to live out their calling to serve God and others as they carry out their daily occupations. That includes being retired and being the best companion to your spouse that you can be. Or volunteer work. God has called us all. Vocation is the call for all believers to proclaim the gospel through daily life and work. Consider and reflect: How do you live out your calling to follow Jesus in your home, school, workplace, and/or neighborhood? In your vocation, from your point of view as a stepparent, farmer, school athlete, IT person, food service worker, artist, caregiver for an elderly person, what does your calling make you aware for that which we need to pray? May we bless and pray for one another.
Many students have started seminary classes. Yes, I was once there, too. Four years of our lives were spent in learning-classrooms (preaching, worship, theology, history), in giving-a summer of clinical pastoral education, (serving residents like being at a Trinity Village, serving a full year of internship in a congregation), and in receiving-blessings (chapel services, singing in the choir, leading worship, and scholarships). The seminary life is compared to a doctor or lawyer’s education except that it takes place in a spiritual realm—a very different way of thinking. May we bless and pray for seminarians:
“Patient and loving God,
We praise you for those preparing for Word, sacrament, and service leadership within your church.
We give you thanks for these servants’ willingness
To hear and answer your call,
Make life changes,
And take up your work throughout creation.
Spread your Spirit’s stirring energy over all our seminarians.
Sustain them with your living word and meal.
Give them holy breath for enduring life’s struggles,
For studying your word, and for trusting in your call.
May we as congregations, seminaries, and synods
Hold our seminarians in love, support, and prayer,
Through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
~from Sunday and Seasons