For Lutherans, our faith isn't just what we believe, it is who we are and what we do. When people are baptized, a series of promises are made, that the baptized person will "live among God's faithful people, hear the word of God and share in the Lord's supper; proclaim the the Good News of God in Christ, serve all people following the example of Jesus, and striving for peace and justice in all the world." Baptism is a covenant, a relationship where God promises life, freedom, and salvation and we promise to follow Christ in all we do. We aren't supposed to leave life, to shun the world and withdraw, but we follow the call of God in every part of our lives. We call this vocation. And you don't have one vocation in your life, but many. Frederick Buechner (who is an Anglican priest, writer, and theologian - and that's cool because we're full communion partners with the Episcopal Church) said that vocation is "the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."
Explore a year in review photo essay, such as this one from the New York Times or this one from National Geographic, because of you are baptized -- because of your faith -- where does your deep gladness meet the word's deep hunger?
Listen to this podcast about Baptism and Vocation. What does it mean for to fulfill any or all of those promises from baptism? Which are easy to keep? Which are challenging? Why?
The Evangelical Lutheran Church gathers every three years in a Churchwide Assembly. Each synod sends a number of delegates, including rostered leaders (pastors and deacons) and lay members. Often, the church participates in a multi-assembly process of commissioning studies and crafting what are called Social Statements. Social Statements are passed by the entire church and are used for teaching and crafting policy. These are our strongest statements which, according to the ELCA website, speak to "social issues in the context of faith and life." There are thirteen social statements at this time, on
Explore the thirteen Social Statement of the ELCA (many of the Social Statements include brief overviews and, if you are interested, a simple search on the ELCA's website normally uncovers the study documents used to help congregations respond to studies that form the foundation of the Social Statements). What does it mean to you that the church considers these issues? Are there social issues the church should not consider? What role do you think the church should take when it comes to front-page-of-the-newspaper issues?
Consider contributing to the current social writing projects, including a Social Statement on Government and Civic Engagement, expected to be considered by the 2025 Churchwide Assembly.
Because you are baptized, you are freed to live in this world in service to your neighbor. What you do is your vocation. Vocations are varied. Vocations are careers, yes, but also calls to married or single life, to be parents or not, to volunteer or work among a given people or with a certain problem. Vocations are the way you share the Good News with others, the way you pray on behalf of others, and the way you offer yourself for the sake of others (here, I am paraphrasing the work of Dave Daubert). Because you are baptized, you have the opportunity to be in ministry, not (necessarily) as a pastor or deacon but by being who you are and following God's call which comes through your baptism and the daily remembering of your baptism. We call this "the priesthood of all believers." Explore this piece from Lutherans Restoring Creation which considers Luther's work on baptism in the Small Catechism.