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God's Call 
Wednesday, June 11, 2008, 08:00 AM - Extra Christy
As part of my preparation for my trip to Israel, I wrote a spiritual autobiography. Over the next weeks, I would like to share parts of it with you.

Last week I shared an unexpected answer to prayer. This week, in honor of my 25th anniversary of ordination to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA), I have another surprise of faith to share.

I think the first time I sensed a call to the ministry was during one of my hospitalizations as a pre-teen. I remember a profound sense of relief and awe in the presence of God. This was very unusual for me. But as an outgoing boy with three brothers, the hospital stay was on of the few times of quiet and solitude in my childhood. I told no one of this. I didn't tell anyone about thinking about being a minister until the late high school years because I wasn't ready to be sure.

Have you ever asked a question and then opened the Bible randomly and poked your finger on a verse? This is a more magical than theological pursuit, but I decided to try it once.

I thought, "Should I go to seminary and become a minister?" I closed my eyes and stabbed at the closed Bible. My finger fell on Acts 13:2:

While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.'

I went to seminary and made my way to ordination. I was set apart for God's work as a Presbyterian ministry, June 12, 1983, the first day of the reunited Presbyterian church.

Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the ruler,* and Saul. While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.' Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. - Acts 13:1-3 (NRSV)

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