We all live our lives using a variety of calendars, each with their own seasons. Pretty much anyone you meet operates according to the standard civil calendar - beginning January 1 and ending December 31, with its 4 seasons, 12 months, and 52 weeks. Families with children also use the school calendar to determine how each year will go. In the church, we have our own liturgical calendar and its various seasons - Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time, with special holidays (like All Saints Day) thrown in at various points. The list of potential calendars can get really long when you add in things like corporate fiscal calendars, sports and league schedules, hunting seasons - and that's just naming a few!
Right now, we're in a special yearly season in the life of the UMC. Beginning in May, the Annual Conferences around the world (our version of a diocese, essentially) will begin holding their annual meetings. Our own Annual Conference begins its meeting this Sunday evening, and it will run to noon on Wednesday. A lot happens at this annual meeting, but every year around this time, I find myself thinking about the concept of God's call in our lives. Each year, the Annual Conference celebrates the Service of Commissioning and Ordination, when new clergy persons are commissioned into their provisional service, and those who have completed their provisional service are ordained into full membership. Even in years when me and my friends (including our very own Donyale Fraylon!) aren't being commissioned or ordained, this service is a powerful reminder that God calls each and every Christian to service in some way, shape, or form.
Since we're in this special season, our service this Sunday will focus on God's call in our lives: what does that look like, and what do we do when we feel God calling us to something? Our sermon - "The Call" - will look at Acts 16:9-15, a story in which Paul receives a specific call from God to go and preach in the region of Macedonia. Following our sermon, we'll have a special opportunity for prayer: since we believe God calls all of Christians in some way, we'll have intercessors available for members of the congregation to pray with during our closing song at each service. Whether you feel God is calling you to something or you're waiting to hear God's call or you need help understanding what God's call means, we hope you'll take advantage of this opportunity to join with a member of our prayer team.