A Brief Call Story

On my journey to ordination, I was asked to write a brief call story. This is what I shared with my presbytery:

Christmas tree and menorah –
The soft glow of Shabbat candles
Welcome me home.
The great teachers of rest
And G-d moving in our world.
An easy dialogue between faiths,
Between parents who share
Religion as they live it
Who nourish questions
Who don’t compete.
These, my teachers, ask,
“Where do you find G-d?”

My childhood church –
Mom and brother and me –
Baptized and confirmed
Hearing stories of Jesus
Seeking faith in action
Sunday school, choir
Bells and youth group.
But the questions we ask
Are met with stares.
These, my teachers, ask,
“Why do you make trouble?”

Church people drew back
And I went away
To find the holy elsewhere.
Away to Gate City.
To college and its questions
Its eager dissection,
Impassioned discussion.
Friends from all faiths
Coming from all over
These, my teachers, ask,
“You, how do you see it?”

I came back to church
A church that I chose
That chose me right back.
I didn’t know then –
But G-d wanted me there.
There, they saw promise
They saw gifts I did not
Coming to Sunday school
Became teaching it
Reading the Bible
Became preaching it
Mission trips – irresistible
These, my teachers, ask,
“How do you not see it?”

In and out of the church
I sought to do mission.
With the homebound
With the grieving
With the stories of Shoah.
Years ago, a pastor told me:
“If you can do
Anything else
Anything at all
Do it.
G-d must be calling
For you to follow –
To become a pastor.”
This, my teacher, asks,
“Are you kidding yourself?”

I tried other things
I chased other dreams
Each was close, but not quite.
G-d wasn’t fooled.
I had to learn
I’m not a social worker.
I’m not a translator.
I’m not a therapist.
I’m not a researcher.
G-d, my teacher, asks
“Do you trust my path?”

I follow the flicker
Of love shining the way
I’ve given in.
I’ve embraced what G-d holds,
Waiting for me ahead.
I wish to serve,
I wish to teach,
I wish to comfort,
I wish to challenge,
And I wish to lead others
To new questions.

Image credit: Photo by Fred Levy, December 5, 2021.

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