Call Day is roughly three months away. Placement interviews on campus are done, interviews between churches and seminarians are underway, and graduating students and their spouses at Concordia Seminary are filled with anxious excitement.
My scale of anxious energy vs. excited energy hangs in balance, dipping every so often in one direction or the other, but maintaining a mostly level status. The two different kinds of energy remind me of two things: Call Day is a big day and Call Day is exciting.
Call Day is a big day. Churches around the country will eagerly await news of their new vicar or pastor. The families of seminarians will secretly listen to the Call Service at work, wondering where their son or nephew or grandson will be sent for his first call or vicarage placement.
Seminarians will sit in class on the morning of May 1 attempting to learn something while counting down the hours to their respective service in the chapel. That afternoon or evening, the wives of these future pastors and vicars will sit in pews, smart phones in hand, waiting to discover and then frantically research the town to which they are being sent.
All of this is big and exciting for seminarians and the churches to which they are sent. It’s a big and exciting day for the families of seminarians.
But far more than any of those things, it’s a big and exciting day to watch the Body of Christ at work.
Several months ago, my husband and I were recounting the details of our placement interview on campus with a fellow seminarian. We have been amazed, both in the vicarage process and in the call process, by the things we have learned about ourselves, our marriage, our passions, our gifts, our weaknesses. We told our friend about the type of church we thought my husband would fit well. He chuckled and said, “I basically said the exact opposite.”
It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Two wildly different people being called to the office of pastoral ministry. Each being trained and guided to maximize on their particular strengths and hone their weaknesses. Each excited and anxious about their first calls.
Paul writes of it this way in 1 Corinthians 12:
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. (Vv. 14–20)
On May 1, 2019, as individual parts in the Body of Christ, we will get a front-row seat, from which we will watch how God arrange pastors and vicars and churches for His glory and His alone. It’s astounding, really. And the truly beautiful and convicting part of all of this is that it’s not about me or my husband or a particular church. It is about the Body of Christ working, functioning, praising, uniting, suffering, and rejoicing together. It is about trusting that God arranges “the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose.”
Paul beautifully reminds us not to compare. There is to be “no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (vv. 25–26).
Call Day is a big and exciting day, a day of rejoicing together. And I don’t know about you, but over here we are counting down the days and hours.
Learn more tips about how to build up fellow members of the body of Christ with this excerpt from the book by Dr. Bruce M. Hartung.