Friday, June 7, 2013

God's Plan

A Bubbling Fountain and Praying Buddha
-in my meditation garden-

Over my years in the ministry I have had numerous occasions to meet with all sorts of people who felt  God was "calling" them to the priesthood.  In our meetings together,  most would try to articulate their priestly vocation.  In glowing terms they would paint a vivid picture of the kind of work they saw themselves doing once they had been ordained - helping the poor and needy, visiting the sick, counseling the lonely, leading prayer and worship.

I woud inevitably ask them, "Why do you need to be a priest to do these things? Why can't you do all this now?" Most of the time,  answers to these questions were hard to come by.

In her book, "An Altar in the World," Barbara Brown Taylor provides this marvelous insight: "One common problem for people who believe that God has one particular job in mind for them is that it is almost never the job they are presently doing. This means that those who are busiest trying to figure out God's purpose for their lives are often the least purposeful about the work they are already doing."

Several years ago, when I first began to consider retiring from the "full-time"  ministry of the church, I spent weeks (more like months) trying to discern how I would spend my time after retirement, asking myself what God was yet calling me to do. 

Now that I have "retired," I think I was asking the wrong question. 

As far as I'm concerned,  God doesn't really have some grand master plan for me or for anyone. In fact, I don't believe that God ever calls anyone to do some particular job or special task at some future time.

As I see it, my "calling" now is simply to be here - available and open to the Holy Presence, sharing my life for the common good, whatever comes my way. 

Someone who read one of my recent blog posts offered me a very helpful  comment. She said, "I  get up every morning and I just do what is possible." What a great insight -that's exactly what I am doing - getting up every morning and doing what is possible.  

The Buddha taught, "Meditate. Live purely. Be Quiet. Do your work with Mastery."  This is the job God is calling us to do.

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