God said to me: O mortal, stand up on your feet, and I will speak with you. – Ezekiel 2:1 (NRSV)
We tell stories of biblical prophets as if receiving a call from God is reserved for an elite squad of ancient rabble-rousers. Surely our own lives have stories of being called to specific purposes, quietly shaped by the Holy Spirit.
What of the young boy who loved trees and couldn’t be dissuaded to stay out of them, even after he climbed so high the fire department had to bring him down? Was that not the seed of his call to environmental advocacy, founding his church’s Green Team and serving on the UCC’s Council for Climate Justice?
What of the middle-aged woman who remembers that within an hour of her husband’s untimely death, friends were on her doorstep, holding vigil through the grief, filling her freezer with food, and slowly bringing her back to life? Was that not the foundation of her call to be that person for others, the one always arriving with a casserole, checking in long after everyone else stopped showing up?
What of the recent retiree who left a corporate career to focus on volunteering for social justice causes but found herself volunteering to write policy and to lead restructuring processes for small organizations? Were the skills she acquired over 30 years in the workplace not woven into an emerging call to serve in new ways?
God told Ezekiel to stand up and listen. Perhaps I will hear God’s voice if I lean in and remember what formed me, if I pay attention to my gifts and skills, if I understand calling a lifetime of listening and acting.
I long to know what purpose you intend for my life, O God. Let’s talk.
Liz Miller serves as the pastor of Edgewood United Church (UCC) in East Lansing, Michigan.