“If my own experience can be trusted, then God does not call us once but many times. There are calls to faith and calls to ordination, but in between there are calls to particular communities and calls to particular tasks within them–calls into and out of relationships as well as calls to seek God wherever God may be found.”
~Barbara Brown Taylor, from The Preaching Life
Do we recognize the many times and many situations in which God calls us? As Barbara Brown Taylor so aptly points out we are being called into and out of relationships constantly. Can we see that? I think we can easily fall into the trap of believing that following God’s call is about discerning what our vocation will be then following it. This diminishes God’s call to a singular moment or point in time. God’s intent for us is much larger however, and God is calling us continually.
Barbara Brown Taylor is suggesting to us that we might approach the many opportunities we have each day to encounter God, in another person, as opportunity to answer God’s call. Each day we have the privilege of being able to ask God to show us where we are being called to serve. Each day we have an opportunity to seek God wherever God may be found. That means that God is indeed continually reaching out to us to seek to be a presence of love and hope in the world, and it also means that we are called to seek the presence of love and hope our world in others.
God may have called some of us to be priest, some to be prophets, some to be teachers, some to be doctors etc… But above all of that God calls us to be a people who love and seek opportunities to love. As Paul reminds us in Ephesians, we are called to … be completely humble and gentle…and patient, bearing with one another in love. [We are called to] make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. It is in that patient, loving, and peaceful approach that we are called daily to seek to find Christ in others. We are called to be on fire with love for God.
In ‘The Seven Storey Mountain,’ Thomas Merton offers these profound words about how God’s repeated call to us may even mean embracing the mystical and deep ways God can call us to influence others through contemplation and prayer;
“Whether you teach or live in the cloister or nurse the sick, whether you are in religion or out of it, married or single, no matter who you are or what you are, you are called to the summit of perfection: you are called to a deep interior life perhaps even to mystical prayer, and to pass the fruits of your contemplation on to others. And if you cannot do so by word, then by example.
Yet if this sublime fire of infused love burns in your soul, it will inevitably send forth throughout the Church and the world an influence more tremendous than could be estimated by the radius reached by words or by example.”
So I invite us all to pray and reflect on where God is calling us to be. I invite us to think about the communities God is calling us to be in relationship with, and to reflect upon the roles God is calling us to take in those communities. I invite us to think about the ways we can seek to be love in this world, as well as how we might seek love in this world. I invite us to reflect upon how we can share the passion we have for God with others. I invited us to share how our lives have been changed because of our relationship with God. I invite us to listen intently to hear God’s repeated calls to us. I invite us to seek God wherever God may be found! God is speaking…. Is God’s servant listening?