Listening for a Call

By the Rev. Marisa Sifontes

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction
of things not seen.
– Hebrews 11:1

Six years ago this month, my Sending Parish, St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, convened a Parish Discernment Committee for the purpose of exploring whether I was called to become a Deacon. At that very first meeting, someone announced that they didn’t see me as a Deacon, but they saw me as a Priest. The comment took me by surprise. For someone who saw her life heading in a certain trajectory, this was not a path I had considered. But I thought about it. And I prayed. And I decided to open myself to the possibility that I didn’t have all the answers but the Spirit would show me the way.
And here we are now, not quite two months after being ordained, after hearing, feeling, and submitting to the invitation of the Holy Spirit. Someone asked recently, “How is the priesting?” To be honest, it still catches me by surprise. Every time I put on the chasuble, I smile that I’ve been ordained as a priest in God’s church, and that I have the opportunity to wrestle with what faith looks like and means, and be with people both in the easy times and the hard.

While my own trajectory of ministry looks different than I thought it might, I can see God’s faithfulness along the way, and my own reliance on God’s chesed, the steadfast love that God has for all of us, as I stepped out into the unknown, solely on faith.

But the story of my call is neither unique nor special. The reality is that God calls each of us to take up the mantle and step into our faith in ways that we haven’t, which makes me wonder what whispers God is trying to speak into your life. What gentle nudges are waiting to manifest? What blessings are just waiting for you to cede a little control and rely on faith?

The trouble is that during a pandemic that continues its march towards endemic, it can be a little hard to have/find/keep faith. It’s easier to stay in the well-worn grooves of what we know. It’s safer, too. I don’t mean in the positive test way, but the unsurety of stepping into the unknown. The things not seen.

And yet God calls us forward, calls us out of the places we wish to stay. God draws us towards the uncomfortable, and loves us in our struggles. While we may not know what lies ahead, faith nudges us to take that first step: into a new way of serving, or back into the pews, or something completely different.

I remain astounded at the richness of the offerings at St. John’s, at the myriad of ways we have to engage with the community around us and help draw all of us closer not only to the Kingdom of God, but to each other. After all, that’s what the work of the Church is.

I invite you to join me as we press forward together on the path ahead. If you’re ready to do something new, more, different, let’s be in touch and figure out what nudges you’re feeling and what God is whispering in your ear.

I’m sure glad we’re on this journey together.

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