The Essence of Vocation

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essence of vocation rublev-holy-trinity

I cannot say for sure how many years I have been pondering Rublev’s sacred icon of the Holy Trinity. It has been the focal point on my prayer table for as long as I can remember. More importantly, it has been the focal point of my entry into this great mystery which I call “my life.”

One morning, maybe a year ago, my Morning Prayer came to a screeching halt. “I’m tired,” I suddenly realized, “of being in charge of this one-person business,” handling everything from business development and marketing and technology to administrative details.

And in a flash came the unbidden grace of insight: “Bring in a management team. A really sharp management team. Bring in … the Holy Trinity.”

This revelation unfolded even as the words formed in my mouth. The Father is the visionary; the Son, the chief operations officer—or COO—to whom I report directly. And the Holy Spirit is the animator of the mission.

We know with vocational certainty that a plan actually exists for our lives. We are part of something infinitely larger than what we can even imagine. The Father holds the vision, and therefore I know >my life counts for something of particular worth in God’s divine economy. I don’t have to know the vision, yet it sets in motion my own capacity to act.

If the Father handles long-term planning, the Son is more about near-term projects and the daily work of bringing them into being. I report to the Son, yet it is a relationship of trust, wholehearted engagement, gratitude, and mutual giving. He is not merely “the boss.” Rather, he calls me into true partnership, remaining hidden while he does his work through me. He is so humble in this way.

I am ever-mindful of that image of the Lord calling Peter to get out of the boat and to walk to him across the uncertain surface. I trust him to call me, too; and he trusts me to get out of the boat. I trust him to sustain me; he trusts me to keep my eyes fixed on him. We are wedded, in this way, in a mutuality of trust.

If the Father is the visionary, and the Son is the COO, then the Holy Spirit is the animator of the mission. By grace I cannot imagine not living in conversation with the Holy Spirit. And if the Holy Spirit is “the animator of the mission,” what is the mission?

It is the living of a life—my life—which fully expresses the Father’s vision, whether I fully understand that vision or not. The life which expresses the Father’s vision is a life sent out, in missio, in the anointing of the Spirit of the risen Lord.

Vocationally we live out the truth of our anointing in the Holy Spirit for the express purpose of actually living, here and now, the Father’s vision for the particular and unique life entrusted to us.

I believe that the Son, to whom I report, doesn’t want to hear how I bumbled through my morning or managed to make it through to the end of the day. I believe he wants to hear how I partnered with the Holy Spirit at every turn. I believe he wants to hear how my heart, soul, mind, and actions were animated by the Holy Spirit.

Even when it is tedious work that does not excite me, if it is work done in partnership with the Holy Spirit it becomes a part of the mission. Obedience in the Holy Spirit shapes and tempers the soul for the lifelong missional journey.

Our only real and abiding work and mission is to reveal the reign of God. It’s that simple. None of us does this revealing on our own. We do it as servants of the Holy Trinity, according to the ways we have been gifted.

Copyright 2013 Mary Sharon Moore, M.T.S.

photo credit: jimforest via photopin cc

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