Friday, December 07, 2012

A few thoughts on vocation...

I've been reading a presentation on vocation (about which I rather admittedly know zilch) and two thoughts came to mind:

1. Comforting Your Neighbor: Comforting a person ought to be about the other person, not yourself. 

Example: A stranger at the Wednesday service came over to me as soon as I sat up in the pew to ask what was wrong with me. She put her hands on my person, rubbing my shoulder, back, and arm. I was proud of myself for not screaming, but ashamed that I did not have the courage to ask her to stop touching me. Her idea of comfort was discomforting to me and is actually harmful. I am not anti-touch or hug. I used to could handle them, but not right now. 

If you consider that these days, 1-4 females and 1-7 males experience sexual abuse, touch is quite commonly something that has brought fear and pain and harm, rather than good. So, before you reach out to comfort someone, ask if that is okay. 

Or rather begin with a bit of Living Word or something of the Gospel message. Not one given as Law (such as God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but one of power, love, and discipline...implying that the person should not timid), but perhaps how blessed we are that we have a High Priest who has walked in this fallen world and understands the weight of that burden, understands our doubts, fears, illness, sorrows, confusion, etc. Then perhaps ask if the other person would like to pray the Lord's Prayer with you or would like you to pray for them [page 305 in the LSB begins a section with a plethora of prayers for you to pray without having to think up anything yourself or you could pray a psalm (Psalms 6, 8, 13, 23, 27, 31, 42, 51, 61, 69, 91, 77, 103, 104, 116, 121, and 139 are always a good place to start)]. 

The point is: stop and think not about what comforts you, but what might comfort the other person and consider that his/her experiences might be radically different from yours. Touching another person is not always a helpful, comforting first response.

2. Culture vs. Created: We are not called to save our culture, but rather serve our neighbor. So, consider the vocation of serving your neighbor in those areas of our culture that disturb or grieve you. 

Example: Instead of posting photos and articles about abortion that oft are geared toward inflaming emotions (especially guilt), seek out ways to serve your neighbors who are considering abortions or who find themselves in a "crisis" pregnancy. You can donate time (both on the office side or the human interaction side), supplies, and money to organizations who serve such women. You can adopt children. You can take a pregnant woman into your own home. You can sponsor her medical care. You can supplement the care of the baby after it is born. You can provide employment for a pregnant woman. You can raise awareness of the needs of organizations that serve these women. You can sponsor a drive to raise funds and/or goods to support such organizations. You can serve those organizations by offering your own special skills, such as classes or workshops in cooking, sewing, gardening, crafting, writing, reading, art, photography, etc. You can commit to pray regularly for the organizations (their operations, their staff, their clients). You can pray with women who struggle with the aftermath of abortion, giving them the comfort of the Gospel. 

Shouting at the world about a topic is not always a helpful or effective response, but serving your neighbor affected by that topic is accordance to God's plan for His creation and His calling in your life.

Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.

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