There is a particular conversation I have found my self having repeatedly over the past few months, and it is time to share it. It has occurred so often, in so many different contexts that I think it is more than coincidence.
And it is this:
When God stirs the waters, and you are suddenly giddy at the potential,
when faith suddenly jumps to life, and your vision of God is expanding,
there is no need to rush.
There is a precious ‘first flush’ of faith — of growth– that comes and cannot be repeated. It should be there in every Christian’s life. It should be exciting, and challenging, and overwhelming.
Somewhere along the line, there will be a question of vocation, and the question is this: What is God calling me to? What sort of life shall I lead to grow more deeply into Christ’s likeness, and to serve God in the world? It has nothing to do with ordination.
For some, of course, there will also be a question about ordination. Is there a call to sacramental ministry? Is the shape of the call to focus on the gathered church or the broad scope of God’s world. But that is a secondary question — something for sorting out later. The church has a far greater need for interesting, committed, deepening disciples than ever it has for more clergy– simply because the church needs to have more lay people than it has clergy.
Too often lately, I’ve seen people in that first flush of faith confusing normal Christian development with a call to ordained ministry. Or worse, I have seen the people around them confusing it: assuming that a growing vivid faith is unusual , or ‘different’; and that it must indicate a specific call.
For some who are on that dizzy growth curve, there may indeed be a call, but it is too soon, too soon.
So if you find yourself breathless with the wonder of God, and full of excitement at what life with God will mean, please: don’t rush.
If you want to learn about your faith and know God to the very depths of your being, then that is your call — and it is enough.
If God needs to be ordained, it will happen when it has to. You have all the time in the world.
If God wants you to live in a religious community — then it will happen when it has to. You have all the time in the world.
Go slowly, and enjoy God where you find God: here and now.