As people of faith, we are called not to look around for someone else to deal with the brokenness and hurt that fills our world but Rather as co-partners in working to bring about God’s beloved community here on Earth. We are that someone.
September 3, 2023
“Sacred Earth, Sacred Worth”
Part 4: Sacred Creative Vocation
Isaiah 6: 1-8
Rev. Dr. Heather W. McColl
Isaiah 6: 1-8
In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the Lord sitting on a high and exalted throne, the edges of his robe filling the temple. Winged creatures were stationed around him. Each had six wings: with two they veiled their faces, with two their feet, and with two they flew about. They shouted to each other, saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of heavenly forces! All the earth is filled with God’s glory!”
The doorframe shook at the sound of their shouting, and the house was filled with smoke. I said, “Mourn for me; I’m ruined! I’m a man with unclean lips, and I live among a people with unclean lips. Yet I’ve seen the king, the Lord of heavenly forces!” Then one of the winged creatures flew to me, holding a glowing coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips. Your guilt has departed, and your sin is removed.” Then I heard the Lord’s voice saying, “Whom should I send, and who will go for us?”
Sacred Creative Vocation Isaiah 6: 1-8
I do not miss the irony that we as a community of faith are talking about our sacred creative vocation on the weekend when we as a society in the United States celebrate Labor Day, a holiday which honors the social and economic achievements of American workers. Although I would argue that our capitalistic society and our faith tradition have two very different understandings of that word, “vocation”.
What I mean by this is in our culture, in our society, our identity is tied to our professions. Usually when we meet someone new, we ask one question first, that question being… “What do you do?” Then once the person responds, maybe with “I’m a lawyer” “I’m a doctor” “I’m an auto mechanic” “I work at a grocery” or “I’m a full time student” or “I work part time”, based on their answers, whether we are aware of it or not, our preconceived notions kick in and we begin to assume things based on just that person’s profession. That’s the way our culture and our society works. It is built upon this narrative that the most important thing about ourselves is how we contribute financially to the whole and for us to do that, we must work hard, do our best, be better than the others because there is not rest for the weary.
However, our faith tradition teaches us a very different definition and understanding of our vocation. At our core, our identity is tied to who we are and whose we are…we are Beloved Children of God, created in the image of our God who loves us more than we will ever know. This is the narrative which shapes how we view and interact with the world. We understand our vocation in the sense of a calling, a sacred proclamation, or for lack of a better term, a great commission. Our vocation is grounded in the understanding that because we are all “made in the image of our Creator, every one of us carries within us the capacity to be a mystic, to be creative, to be visionary, and to be an agent for positive change. It is our responsibility to say “here I am, send me” and to cultivate our capacity to benefit earth and all it’s creatures.” In other words, our vocation as people of faith is a sending out into the world to be God’s prophet as we proclaim God’s healing and wholeness for all of God’s people.
But here’s the kicker…our faith tradition also teaches us that it is not just a few ones who have this call. Our faith tradition teaches us that all of us are called. That all of us have this sacred creative vocation, that “God gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. God’s purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son…By speaking the truth with love, we grow in every way into Christ, who is the head. The whole body grows from him, as it is joined and held together by all the supporting ligaments. The body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does its part.”
In other words, as people of faith, we are not called to look around for someone else to deal with the brokenness and hurt which often fills our world. Rather as co-partners in working to bring about God’s Beloved Community here on Earth, we are that someone. Each one of us is created in the image of the Divine. Each one of us is a part of the Body of Christ. Each one of us has gifts which are unique to us, gifts which are needed for the building up of the Beloved Community. Each one of us is called to be a prophet who makes justice, loves kindness and walks humbly with our God. Through our sacred creative vocation, healing for our world is possible, but it would mean that we as people of faith, we as a culture, we as a society would have to wake up to exactly how bad the problems are.” And that’s the true difficulty of accepting and embracing our sacred creative vocation as people of faith. It means that we have to acknowledge that we have bought into the false narrative of our world because it is easier, because it is comfortable, because it doesn’t require anything from us, of us. It would mean admitting we have ignored who we are and whose we are. It would mean admitting that we ignored our call to interfere with what interrupts authentic life. It would mean admitting that we took the easy way out and didn’t do the hard work of engaging and loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Now before I leave us all depressed about the world and our call as people of faith, I want to remind us that throughout the whole of our sacred faith story, God has been, is now and forever will be interacting with God’s people. Since the beginning of time, God has called forth prophets, teachers, apostles, artists, dreamers, planners, all to work together to bring forth the Beloved Community of God here on Earth just like it is in Heaven. Since the beginning of time, God had called the imperfect and the ones others would ignore. God has called the young and the old, God has called male and female. God has called the tax collectors and prostitutes to help bring about the dream of God’s Beloved community here on Earth. Even now, for a time such as this, God is calling forth prophets to bring about healing and wholeness for all of God’s people. Since the beginning of time, God has called and is still calling all of us as God’s people to live out our sacred creative vocation as we work with God to bring about God’s Beloved Community here on Earth for all God’s people. The beauty, the wonder, and life giving piece of our sacred creative vocation is that it is grounded in the knowledge that God calls us to become the person God created and calls us to be so that all will know this world does not have the last word.
Because you see, although we assume that our actions must be grandiose to make a difference, in reality, to live out, to fulfill, to embrace our sacred creative vocation all is required of us is for us to answer the one authentic, the one true, the one question that really matters when it is asked of us, the same question which has been asked of all of God’s people since the beginning of time…that question being… ““Whom should I send, and who will go for us?”
Today and all days, may we have the courage and the strength to always respond to this question by saying “here I am, send me” as we cultivate our capacity to benefit earth and all it’s creatures.
See also: Theology Tuesday for Sunday, September 3, 2023 – Sacred Creative Vocation Isaiah 6: 1-8.