Today’s scripture tells a story from early in Jesus’s ministry. Jesus is teaching a group of disciples in a crowded house when his family arrives to cart him away, afraid that he has lost his wits. Jesus speaks against his mother and his brothers then, saying that those who follow the will of God are the ones who are his true family.
In this story, we see Jesus bravely following his inner knowing of God’s will for him, instead of the voices that have long told him who and what he is. In his new community of friends and disciples, he knows that he is truly following God’s will.
Have you ever had an experience like this? How has your inner knowing of God’s will made itself known to you in a community that knows and believes in you? How did you respond?
Learning to hear, trust, and follow the way God’s will makes itself known in your life is called discernment. That is why, in the twenty-first century, we in the United Church of Christ call those who are finding their way toward a career in ordained ministry “members in the discernment.”
Discernment about ministry comes from both the nudge of the inner voice, and the affirmation and challenge of a community. According to the Manual on Ministry, the church “Ordained Ministers belong to both God and the people. They are nurtured and sustained by both; they are responsible to both….Ordained ministry is ministry of the Church entrusted to individuals; it is not the ministry of individuals acting independently.”*
In the call of God’s will in your life an affirmation of what you’ve always been told about yourself, or is it an opportunity to listen to new voices in a community you’ve found for yourself later in life? Either way, if you believe you may be called to ordained ministry, ask your pastor to connect you with a representative from your conference or association.
*Manual on Ministry: A Guide to the Authorizing Ministry in the United Church of Christ, Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization, Local Church Ministries, A Convenanted Ministry of the United Church of Christ, 2018.