When I began my journey of ordained ministry, my pastor shared Jeremiah 1: 4-10 with me. It is a part of the prophet Jeremiah’s call story, reflecting God’s plan for him. It is the passage I share with others as they begin to discern their call to servant ministry.
When I served on the Board of Ordained Ministry in the then Detroit Conference, a portion of the interview time was listening to each candidate’s call story. Each story is unique in how our Lord speaks to someone’s heart and soul inviting us to a life of service. Our stories also resonate with people from Scripture who have also been called to serve. The call stories of Moses, Samuel, and Isaiah are examples from the Old Testament. Simon Peter’s call by Jesus in the Books of Matthew and Luke inform us that anyone, and everyone is chosen to serve our Lord.
As clergy candidates move forward in the process, there are fewer and fewer invitations and opportunities to share how God has led us and is leading us on the path of following His plan for our lives. And yet, this moment is a pivotal event in our relationship with our Lord. Who we were before and who we are after hearing God speak our name is life changing. It is when we recognize that we are special as we are, while simultaneously beginning to understand that we may become much, much more.
Every person has a story to tell. The Holy Spirit lives in each of us. That’s what Pentecost is all about. God is calling each of us, shaping all of us and asking every one of us to help and support one another. Whether the Lord speaks to you through your favorite hymn or a particular Scriptural passage, God still moves in our lives.
How often do we tell one another about how our Lord first touched our lives. Did we have a strange warming of our hearts like John Wesley? Or was it more like a lightening bolt experience like Saul? Did we hear a small voice like Elijah? Or did the Lord have to call us more than once, like Samuel, before we recognized who was calling our name?
And once we said yes, I can do that, how was our life transformed, and how does it continue to be transformed by what it means to let the Holy Spirit work within us and through us. I invite you to read the story of Pentecost once again. How does this passage affirm how our Lord is speaking to you, and asking you to serve one another? And how will you celebrate this wondrous gift that Jesus promised to everyone who gathered together on that particular day.
We are called! We are blessed! We are God’s voice and hands and feet! And Amen.