Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vocatio


It sounded impressive to put it in Latin. However, the more familiar English derivative, vocation, or more simply yet, "call," would have done just as nicely. The concept of our work on this earth as a vocatio, or "calling," was brought home to me this morning as I watched a plumber attend to my clogged bathroom sink. There, crouched on the floor, dealing with the disgusting greyish-black sludge accumulated through decades of use, this man was performing a task for which I discovered myself quite inadequate. Not that I refused to try. I made multiple trips to the Menards and Walmart attempting to find tools for what initially appeared to be a routine household chore. I twisted and pulled and pushed until the greyish-black ooze squirted strategically in unwanted directions, soiling all in its path. As I watched this man attend to my failed chore I admittedly had renewed appreciation for his work. He, like many in our society, does what we prefer to avoid, taking on a very unglamorous task for the good of all. Luther called our vocations "God's masks." Essentially the Almighty works anonymously through us to perform the work of the First Article. Many, including this plumber, probably would not think his work that of a "calling." Too often we want to see only those jobs done in and directly for the church as truly "callings." Yet that is Third Article work. God also cares about our daily needs, and utilizes the skills and talents of countless people every day to tend to these necessities. Thus, my plumber today carried out God's work. And with my hands now clean again from that greyish-black ooze, I am deeply thankful. The water once again runs freely down the drain when I brush my teeth. Perhaps that seems simple, but much of life is, and isn't is wonderful that God cares even about the little things of life?

For a more extended look at vocation, see Dr. Vieth's article "Masks of God."

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