What is God's call right now? God's purpose for my life?
As I contemplate these questions again at the beginning of a new year, I've come across this reflection by John Stendahl. In it, he voices some of the problems of our notions of "vocation" - insider/outsider language, the challenge of many callings, the tendency to base our worth on our tasks and duties. In Jesus' baptism, Stendahl senses a different claim.
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Or get a taste of it right here:
"Not every cry can be answered
and not every call is from God.
So it is a blessing when we can thank God
for the joy of purpose in our lives
and for times when the call to a certain task seems clear.
Yet even when our callings seem hard to sort out
or beyond our ability to fulfill,
even in the day of failure and betrayal,
I pray to remember again the calling that comes first and last.
The tasks and duties do matter, but what abides --
our identity, our belonging, our hope --
is heard here by the waters."
"The Outset," John Stendahl, The Christian Century, 1997. At Religion Online.