By Kate Wharton
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about calling. Yesterday it was my joy to be at Liverpool Cathedral to see both Bec Hill, our former ordinand, and Claire Aldridge, our new curate, ordained. It also happened to be 16 years to the day since my own ordination as deacon, in the same cathedral. Last week I had the immense privilege of leading the ordination retreat for those to be ordained priest in the Edmonton area of London Diocese, and then to preach at their ordination service. And it’s not long since we were celebrating with Emma and Isaac, as Emma heard that she had been successful in her panel and had been approved to train for ordination. Lots of callings, lots of prayers, lots of joy.
But lest you think that calling = ordination, and ministry = being a vicar, I have also been thinking about all sorts of other types of calling and all sorts of other types of ministry.
I’ve been thanking God for those among our number (and beyond) who serve in the NHS in any role – if you’re on our mailing list, you’ll have received a prayer poster with their names and jobs on, as a reminder to pray for them. I’ve also been thanking God for those who serve in the education sector in any role – I never sent out a prayer poster for them because only one person replied to my email with a photo, but probably you were all just too busy marking and doing lesson prep! You, along with those in many other types of paid or unpaid work, may well have felt God’s call to enter your particular profession or career. You, just as much as those of us who wear a dog collar, or stand at the front of church each week, may have felt God’s call to do the job that you do.
I’ve also been thanking God for the people who have answered God’s call to serve in all sorts of different ways within our church and its ministries. For the church wardens, the live tech team, the stewards, the PCC members. I’m grateful for a number of new people who have offered to serve on the kids’ team as we look to restarting Kids’ Church in the autumn, and to those who have stepped back after long and faithful service. I’m grateful to those who have offered to serve on the new cleaning team, and to those who have stepped back after such a long time with the Friday morning ‘Scrubbers’ team.
Whoever you are, however long you’ve been following Jesus, whatever your background/gifts/skills/interests, God wants to use you in his kingdom work in the church and in the world. He has given you gifts and he will show you how to use them, if you’ll let him.
So today, why don’t you take some time to consider your calling. Is there something new to which God might be calling you? Is he affirming you in the place he’s put you, and the thing you’re doing? Does he want you to know his encouragement today, or to offer a word of encouragement to someone else?
Let’s rejoice in these words written by St. Paul to the church in Thessalonica, but true for all of us: “The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.”