To be needed, to mean something, to make a difference. Who doesn't want to experience this? And to belong, to feel like the right person in the right place. Then and there, life feels meaningful. The idea that every person is called, cried out to or sought out by God is about just that. That God wants us to be part of the creation that is ongoing.
Co-creators – that is what people are called to be. In Martin Luther's time, a vocation belonged primarily in the context of religious life. The call to a convent or to become a priest was what was emphasized.
Everything has to do with God
Martin Luther interpreted vocation differently. He said that the entire world, all of society and every place had to do with God. God does not belong to certain special places. God is great and is constantly creating new things everywhere through his creation, particularly through human beings. When the Bible says the God created and saw that it was good, it is still true. Luther opened up the idea of what was holy, so that even gray, dreary everyday life can have streaks of holiness. God is in the middle of everything and asks for us wherever we are.
The idea of vocation is a consequence of what it means for God to want good things for people. Luther says that we should thank God, no more, no less. Then we can express our gratitude in the form of attention, care and support for fellow human beings, especially the neighbour who is in a vulnerable position.
This strengthens the relationships between people, so they will support each other when there is a need. We do this through our normal tasks and our usual roles. Working as a shoemaker, broker, police officer or truck driver, staying home as a mother, grandfather or child, spending free time as a football coach, class parent, volunteer in the visitors' service, party organizer or adult on the playground. All types of work. Luther believed that all responsibilities and all tasks that people have and get at home, in their family, work and society can best be understood as callings.
A calling is to take life seriously
The idea of a calling is an idea that takes life seriously. It is an idea that helps us take ourselves seriously and give humanity its own value, while at the same time emphasing that humanity does not just come of itself, we work for it and it gets stronger every day. We are there for each other and God is there and watching us with warm, encouraging eyes.
The text is a shortened version. The entire text is available in Swedish at www.svenskakyrkan.se/500-ar-av-reformation