Session 2: What is Call?

Aim

By the end of this session you should be able to: 

  • begin to define what we mean by the terms Call and Vocation

.

Prayer

Blessed are you Lord our God,

for you come to us and seek to make your home in us.

As we study now,

let our eyes and our ears be open to you

let our hearts find their rest and their joy in you

that we may grow in grace and live to your glory.

Blessed are you, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.

Amen.

Call and Vocation: Definitions

As we begin this module it might be helpful to spend a few moments thinking about what you understood from the Study day about the words Call and Vocation. Do Call and Vocation mean the same thing? 

Have you changed your mind about your ideas because of the Study day or has it merely confirmed your understanding?

Write down what you understand by the word call and the idea of God calling you.  Think about and write down what vocation means to you.

Now watch the video clip.

Is the message of the video clip similar or different from your own ideas? In what ways? Make a note of your thoughts for the next Study Day.

Call

One of the challenges associated with the idea of ‘call’ is not to see it as a call to ordained ministry in the church. For many, when the church speaks about 'call' they ask the question, ‘Is God calling me to a particular job or role in the church?’ 

But 'call' is wider than just the call to a particular ministry. 

Angela Shier-Jones in her book The Making of Ministry (2008) suggests that: 'Calling or Vocation is a two-fold action – a calling out of or away from one way of living, and towards conformity to the purpose of God – to be holy, to be Christlike, to be reconciled'. (p16) She goes on to say that the Christian vocation is a divine calling to serve a divine person.

So what does it mean to be called?

As you will have seen in the video clip, the word ’vocation’ comes from the Latin verb vocare, meaning ‘to call’. The idea of vocation as a calling from God is clearly seen in the Bible, but the theology of vocation is not simply about what happens to some individuals in the life of the Church. 

It extends to all of life (Worthen, 2012).

Thinking About Call and Vocation

Read Chapter1 from Charles Richardson (2004) This is Our Calling pp 1-12 and answer the 'Questions for Reflection' below.

Questions for Reflection

Note down your answers to these questions and reflections in your learning journal. These will aid you in your final assignment. God calls us at many levels. He calls creation, he calls the church, he calls the congregation of our churches.

1. Reflecting on your own experience and context how do you see God at work in creation, the church, the local congregation? 

2. How is it possible for our care of the earth to allow the various parts of the universe to find the fulfilment which God has willed for it since the beginning of time?

You are invited to make comments in the discussion forum. Comments should be about the session content - an opportunity to share your thoughts about what you are learning during this session. 

Spotlight on Doctrine Introduction

Doctrine is a set of beliefs which are central to how we understand (and have received) our faith. It is the product of centuries of discussion, thought and tradition which have been brought together into some sort of unified whole. Think of the creeds we read on a Sunday, or the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection – these are Doctrines. Each session will have a thought about part of a doctrine for you to muse over.

‘According to the doctrine of vocation, the church is the place where Christians meet every week to find the forgiveness of Christ, feed on God’s Word, and grow in their faith. Then they are sent out into their vocation – to their spouses, children, jobs and culture – for that faith to bear fruit.’ Veith (2011 p125)

Spotlight on Spirituality Introduction

This is our – and your – opportunity to put theory into practice. In this section we will explore a bit about different vocational understandings and how they have been applied spirituality.  It is an opportunity to connect our thinking with our hearts and to see how theory is put into practice.

Reflect

Watch the video to help you reflect on what you have learned in this session.

Prayer

Blessed are you, Lord our God, all things come from you:

from you come our life, this world and all that we have and are.

Teach us to love and respect your creation and give glory to you.

Blessed are you, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. 

Amen

To Do in Church This Week

If your Church has an outside space, what does it say about Creation’s call to worship? Is it a place that inspires thoughtfulness and peace or is it neglected? What might you do to help to change that?

Share some of what you have found on the discussion board in the Forum.

Resources

Vocation: Theology of the Christian Life, Veith

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