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The Power of Yes

by Jennifer S. Michael

What does it mean to be called? If we look to the Bible, we can see many examples. God called Moses to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt, Noah to build an Ark, Jonah to preach in Nineveh, and the disciples to proclaim the gospel to all the world.

 In today’s church we use the phrase “to be called” frequently to talk about the call to ministry—ordained, diaconal minister, assistant in ministry, deaconess. We also use it to talk about “calling” a new pastor to a church or “calling” a bishop to serve in a synod.

But what about us? What does it mean to be called for us? To answer that question, I need to share with you a bit of my own “call story.” It is a story about listening and trust.

When I was 10 years old, I felt like God was calling me to do something special. A white robe with a cincture at my waist, a lit taper in my eager hands setting alight the candles on the altar, the weight of the cross as I processed to the front of the church. When I put on that alb and helped during the worship service, there was transformation and through it I served others. I loved that feeling!

As an adult, my life took on the familiar patterns of attending church with my family. In those years, going to church was about duty and rhythm. My goal at that time was to give my stepson an opportunity to be an acolyte like I was when I was a little girl. Going to church wasn’t about me—I was just being a good mother, giving my stepson a chance to feel that same call to do something special. What I didn’t know was that God was also preparing a call for me as well.

There is an old saying that goes, “You are just one yes away from your miracle.”

Jennifer S. Michael is a second-year master of divinity student at Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, an ELCA Fund for Leaders scholarship recipient, and former churchwide president of Women of the ELCA (2011–2014).

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