In the role of a pastor, results are not tangible and are seldom measurable. Even when they are measurable, the question of what they are measuring is an open one. I can apply myself to a task and see nothing change over long periods of time. Pastoral ministry can often feel purposeless.
We might faithfully do a great many things in our lives, including changing occupations. Because our lives are not monolithic, neither should our discernment be. The idea that God issues a single vocation to each of us does not seem consonant with the experience of most Christians
The peculiar Christlike shape that one’s life thus takes on is one’s vocation. And vocation is the outworking of grace in the life of a human being.
When someone asks me about priestly ordination, the underlying message is that the work that I am currently doing would be more valuable or whole if it were performed by a priest.
I regularly hear fellow priests talk about how their principal responsibilities are to plan and execute Sunday worship. Lay people can visit the sick members of their parishes, they tell me. After all, priests are trained for other things.
The Living Church, 1936: “Four times a year the notices on Sunday call our attention to the Ember Days.”
One of the best things about Advent is the presence of John the Baptist, that hair-shirt-wearing, locust-eating, wild-man prophet, the “voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”