The Call

All pastors know about “the Call.” They use it to refer to how you were called to describe the story of how you were called to ministry. You see, most ministers didn’t start out wanting to be a minister. The HAD to be a minister. That may sound silly, but read on and maybe it will make sense. Something else, everyone has a call, everyone has a purpose. It just takes a while to find – especially if you are not looking or listening to the Divine Presence that is with you every day.

In seminary one of our speakers described my own experience, and from the laughter many others resonated with it as well when he said:

The call to ministry is a lot like the urge to throw up. You have the feeling and you fight it because you really don’t want to do that – but you feel so much better after you give in to it and stop fighting.”

We are not here randomly. I was giving a sales talk one time and asked everyone “How do you define success?” Herb Potter, a good man, responded in a way that I was not expecting – you see at the time I thought that if there even was a god it had to be more complex than the simple platitudes I learned in Sunday School. Mr. Potter said:

Success if finding the will of God in your life, and doing it.”

I later realized he was quoting from the Bible but I didn’t know that at the time.

So, this relates to a person’s call because it refers to what God has and is calling us to do (I am reminded of a book with a title something like – God is Calling But Most People Leave the Phone Off the Hook. Most young readers won’t understand that but on old phones when you picked them up you completed the circuit and you could talk. However, if you picked the phone up and set it beside the receiver no one could call you. They could call all day and couldn’t get through, likewise, with the old technology they could not even leave you a message.) It would almost be like shutting off our phone when our messages are full, except even then we can see a record that God was trying to get ahold of us. And, indeed, once we answer our call it often becomes obvious to us how many times we had ignored his attempts at communication when we insisted there was nothing there. So God is calling all of us – in not only my experience but in the experience of billions of others in life and history. However, although the scriptures of nearly every religion tell us that the Divine is constantly reaching out to us an astonishing number of people aren’t listening. But it’s not always so easy in our busy lives, especially in this modern world we’ve constructed which is, in many ways, designed to separate us from nature and our nature. I am not saying we need to abandon modern life and its benefits. I am saying we need to live in accordance with the natural rhythms of life and quit pretending we are immune.

Our busy lives demand our attention and often keep us racing hither and yon like rats in a maze. I think this is why surveys consistently show country folk tend to be happier than city folk. Rural life is slower and, more importantly, it is easier to stay grounded with nature, and nature and quiet are key to finding how to listen with the ears of your heart to nature’s God. We are creatures of nature and nature and its cycles are key to grounding ourselves. More and more studies are finding that these rhythms of nature are so much a part of who we are that we become unhealthy if we are cut off from them (and God,) by concrete, busy-ness, steel, and too many electronic energy fields. Recently, more and more doctors and researchers have tied these things to the maladies that oppress us physically and mentally. I have noted more and more that disease is being identified with dis-ease.

It was Saint Benedict (almost 2000 years ago,) who said that we need to “Listen with the ears of our heart.” Like most spiritual language it is metaphorical. That is because anyone who has truly experienced the Divine has a great deal of trouble describing it with the limited tools of language. Often music or poetry can convey it better because it is not only a cognitive experience but it is deeply moving and often includes tears of relief, joy, regret, and love all rolled together. If you have not had such an experience write me and I will pray for you. Odds are the experience has been waiting for you but you have not yet learned to “listen with the ears of your heart.” (A link will soon appear here with a better explanation.)

To listen with the ears of our heart require that we be grounded and centered and willing to hear. Our busy experiences train us to not be any of those things and, in so doing, contribute to the misery, disorientation, depression, anxiety, and other negative emotions that fill our modern lives. It has not always been this way. Something is wrong; probably many somethings.

But, as so many ancient scriptures of so many religions also say we have a purpose and life has meaning. We are disconnected from that meaning and I believe the key to finding meaning is finding Nature’s God (as opposed to the false gods and false presentations of this world,) and thereby finding our meaning and purpose. An old Shaker tune (hundreds of years old,) says it this way:

Shaker Tune

If you don’t have a clue what those last two lines mean you need to get a cat or a dog and you will soon understand.

If you have heard your call I will try to support you here. If you have not I will try to help you hear it. What are you called to do? Do you know? Leave a comment below. I would like to know.

I am Rivan Elan. (Prounced Rivǝn Ělän´) Welcome, and God Be With You.