Vocation is, you could say, what’s left when all the games have stopped. It’s that elusive residue that we are here to discover, and to help one another discover.

Rowan Williams in A Ray of Darkness: Sermons and Reflections (1995)

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Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been raised. On the Sabbath he went to the synagogue as he normally did and stood up to read. The synagogue assistant gave him the scroll from the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the synagogue assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the synagogue was fixed on him. He began to explain to them, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled just as you heard it.”

Luke 4:16-21

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One of my seminary professors asked us all to come up with our own perfect job descriptions. “The sky is the limit!” she told us. “Just be honest and attentive to the ways God has gifted you for ministry.” When we came back to class, the professor invited us to read aloud our ideal job descriptions. We shared passionately about the ways we each felt God inviting us to show up and serve in the world through the various vocations to which God was calling us.

In today’s scripture, Jesus spells out his own dream job description: preach good news to the poor, proclaim release to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and proclaim God’s just presence. He sets his goals high and, in so doing, establishes a standard against which all of our vocations must eventually measure. We might be called to serve in a variety of ways, but whatever we do must, in its own way, align with Jesus’ own ministry of justice, freedom, and peace.

Columba Maynus

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God, you call me to be in solidarity with the poor and to work for justice. Help me to be as loving and as merciful as you are. Amen.

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Go, a disciple, called and sent.

Go, a disciple, equipped for justice.

Go, a disciple blessed

in the strong name of God:

one holy and undivided Trinity.


Columba Maynus

Brother Columba Maynus is a Benedictine monk in the Episcopal Church. He serves as Community Engagement Coordinator at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is a charter member and Gospel Catalyst of the Academy of Preachers.

The Need To

Josh Ritter

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