The next Choral Evensong at Imperial will explore the connections between faith and work. We will be celebrating the vocations to do science, engineering, medicine and business. Here is an extract from some conversations about vocation.
Christianity talks about ‘vocation’ or ‘calling’. It starts with the idea that people are ‘called by God’. Often this means unexpected people are ‘called’ by God to do surprising things. Moses, for example, was a Hebrew raised by an wealthy Egyptian princess, who leads the enslaved Hebrew people to freedom. Saul is persecuting Jesus’ followers when he has his Damascus Road experience and becomes Paul a disciple of Jesus. In Christianity everyone who is baptised is ‘called by God’ to follow Jesus.
‘Vocation’ and ‘Calling’ are also closely linked to our working world. ‘Calling’ expresses something about each person’s unique skills, gifts and personality.
We also talk of some careers as being ‘callings’, for example, nursing, medicine, and teaching. But what about other forms of work, like running a business, administration, catering? Can these be callings?
The religious language of calling can prompt some practical questions about how we see our work.
How much of our deepest self goes into our work? Too much, not enough?
If work is what I do to pay the bills, is my ‘calling’ something I do outside of my work?
How much enthusiasm or passion do I have (or still have) for my work?
Does my work or voluntary work ‘fit well’ with my skills, temperament and talents?
Is my work or voluntary work making the world a better place for others? Does it bring life or hope?
Am I being ‘called’ to something new? How would I recognise that calling?
Every person has their vocation. The talent is the call.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Love doesn’t sit here like a stone; it is to be made like bread, remade all the time, made anew’.
‘In the Gospel, vocation means being a human being, now, and being neither more, nor less, than a human being now…And, thus, each and every decision, whether it seems great or small, whether obviously or subtly a moral problem, becomes and is a vocational event, secreting, as it were, the very issue of existence.’