The common work of our callings
Chris Boerger during the question and
answer session of the election for ELCA
secretary during the 2013 Churchwide
By Chris Boerger
I come to this call with a profound sense of gratitude to God for the varied experiences and opportunities that make this call possible. As I understand Luther’s perspective on vocation we are all called to a variety of roles in our lives. I have the vocation of husband, father, grandfather, citizen, child of God, pastor and now secretary. None of these replaces the others. The maintenance of a healthy balance is my daily work.
My call to ministry came in kindergarten at Trinity Lutheran School, Marysville, Ohio. The teacher was telling the students about the boys and girls in Africa who did not know Jesus. Her question was, “Who wants to be a missionary?” and my hand went up. After that day my professional vocation choices always included the possibility of being a pastor.
Encouraged by my family, my congregations and the larger church I went to seminary. In the process I “accidentally” took a class in parliamentary law. At the time I saw it as a time filler taught by my advisor. That class serves as a basis for my being in this current call.
Too often we limit the work of the Holy Spirit to the unusual or unexplainable events. My experience has been that the Spirit is actively working in the everyday lives of God’s people. It is often the common work of our callings that the Spirit uses to change lives. My kindergarten teacher and my college professor would both be surprised that I would say that they were agents of the Spirit in my life. They were, and in a very concrete way they helped prepare me for this call.
Lutheran Christians understand that God is engaged in the world as it is. God is not waiting for us to clean up our lives in order to work through us. It is the miracle of grace that puts God’s work into our hands. God using the people around us, like you, to do the work God would have done in the world. Your work, your questions, your presence may well be that Spirit moment in the lives of someone who comes into contact with you.
I begin this new call confident that God has used this cloud of witnesses from my past to prepare me for this opportunity. I also come into this call expecting that God will use you and me to reach out to others with that unknown gift that will change lives. Thanks be to God.
The Rev. Wm. Chris Boerger took the office of ELCA secretary on Nov. 1, 2013. He was installed Aug. 17 during the closing worship of the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.
You might also want to read:
Farewell from the secretary of the ELCA
Recap of the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly