Martin Luther

What IS My Calling? HOW Do I Find Out+Know For Sure?

(Thanks to Today's Christian Woman, running this article today. Here's the first page.  Please follow the link to finish! And spread the Good News, if you will!)   

 I’m standing on the beach, surrounded by fishing nets and rotting jellyfish. My hands are cramping after three days of morning-until-night mending net this week, which includes yanking the gloppy jellyfish from the web.

 I’m happy to be working with my husband and sons, but I’m ready for a rescue. I’m ready for Jesus to come strolling along our Alaskan beach like he did the shores of Galilee with this simple deliverance to those fishermen, “Come, follow me!”

And why not? Jesus called those fishermen away from their nets to a higher pursuit, “go and be catchers of men.” Of course they said yes! Who wouldn’t ditch the fish for souls instead? But while I’m on board to jump ship and drop the nets, especially this week, I am troubled as well. Christ’s words seem to imply a world divided into flesh and spirit, into sacred and secular. And we know that first call was amplified in Jesus’ final charge before his ascent to heaven, that we’re to “go out into all the world, baptizing and making disciples of every nation.”  I remember pondering this years earlier, when immersed in another kind of dirty work: changing diapers, hauling baskets of molding laundry, scraping dried food under the high chair. 

If Jesus called the fishermen-disciples away from their mundane labors toward a higher calling, what about the rest of us, armpits deep in daily sludge? Surely Jesus is calling us to more! Surely we are doing lesser work than those in ‘full-time Christian service” who are living extraordinary make-a-difference lives!

I hear this struggle from so many around me. A middle-aged friend who teaches health at a Christian high school confides in me one night that she’s not doing enough for God. She is thinking she’s being called to resign to begin a ministry for abused women in Mexico. A neighbor making dinner for her large family hears the evening news, sees the refugees and feels like she is wasting her life in floor polish and toilet bowl cleaner. Another friend who homeschools her four children questions this “calling,” wondering if God is asking her to serve abroad somewhere. 

 It’s little wonder we wrestle over this. For believers, “Calling” is serious business. The word itself comes from the Latin vocatio, from which we get our word “vocation,” and the Greek kaleo, both meaning literally, simply, “to call.” We use the term meaning more than a strong pull toward a particular line of work or activity, as it’s often used in a non-religious context. We believe the caller is God himself and that the one who is “called” is chosen particularly for nothing less than God-appointed work.   

We join a long history of angst and confusion over calling, fed in part by these very gospel passages, and, fed as well by the Church, both Catholic and Protestant. Through the centuries, both often created a social hierarchy with the clergy on top and the commoners who made bricks, milked cows, mucked stalls on the bottom. Evangelicals have played their part as well. Those who join the clergy or become missionaries or in some way enter “full-time Christian service” are clearly doing more for the kingdom than the rest of us going about our simple daily commerce.  

Or Not?? I think you'll find clarity and hope as the essay continues  here, at Today's Christian Woman.

Thank you for being here! Coming next: Scenes from our local production of "Tarzan" in which I play ever-so-apishly, a primate. In the jungle. In costume, yes, walking on my knuckles. I'm SURE there's something here of value to our spirits and lives. And there is. 

After Easter: What About the Hangover?

How did you wake up the day after Resurrection Sunday? S

o  much joy spent in furious singing and chanting, "Up From the Grave He Arose!" and  "Where O Death is your sting? Where, O Death, is your victory?" . .  .   And a breakfast buffet at church, all sugar and cream, then dinner and a company of Beautiful Others at the table, and

 too much ham, too much salt and too many desserts . . . and a late late night. Yes, Jesus is alive, Praise God! but Monday morning I'm hung over. Exhausted. And sad. There are sorrows that cannot be named  still . .. and


tomb is empty but mine----my tomb? Maybe yours? Still sealed. With a body in it. Not risen. 

Doesn't this happen every year, this whiplash between the grief of Good Friday and the giddy gladness of Easter----and then one more neck-breaking twist we never talk about: the morning after? The hangover after all the hullabaloo? When your fridge is full of leftovers (yes, Praise for this too!), but real hobbled life has returned--with extra force for its temporary absence?   

I found an answer to this today, on Earth Day,as simple as a walk. Come with me for a moment? I promise not to prettify or falsify . …

 I walk heavy-hearted into the ugliness of what winter has left behind---a grey day, so many days of rain, my muddy pot-holed road, 

I cross the freshet which looks more like the sewage-et this time of year (it's not) . . .

Past places of danger . ..

isolation . . .

and onto death---the lake where a much-loved boy drowned last summer . …

But among and around all of this-----is something else: the rainforest. This is rainforest country, here, this eastern side of Kodiak Island.

It's always green in here---and not an ordinary green. The green of Life itself. It comes from too much rain, and not enough sun. Even in the winter, when blizzards sweep it white, underneath, the green remains. 

Even the trees that snap off in hurricane winds sustain luscious green life. 

Nothing that lives or dies escapes the entwining moss  . ..  which covers all. 

Martin Luther wrote, “Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.”  

It is not springtime yet here, but a rainforest is always alive. 

Forgive this most simple allegory, and this simple hungry heart--- but I found him here today. In this rainforest. Christ. He has so encompassed us, so draped and hung  himself upon us, beneath us, over us, around us, that we who are dead are brought to life again, and we who are living are yet more alive. 

One more resurrection. I needed it this day. Watch for it. Every day will bring a reason to die, and the reason you do not: because He lives, still. In you, on you, around you, under you. Today I see how He is hung upon me like a scarf, like moss, like  the green growing force that He is, He who will never stop clinging to me and to you. He who makes even the hollow places, the graves we carry within us, 

once again,


And tomorrow, we will know His resurrection life again, another way. This time----how?  Will you tell me what you find??