Martin Luther and the Called Life was written by Mark D. Tranvik and explores a Lutheran understanding of vocation by drawing from both Martin Luther’s experiences and ideas. The largest part of the reading for this week focused on the foundations of Luther’s theology of vocation by looking at the customs of his context and Luther’s personal experiences that led him to dive more deeply into the concept of vocation. The later part of the reading begins to look at the modern applications of Luther’s theology of vocation. Vocation begins at baptism, when a Christian is saved by grace through the cleansing waters and enters into the community of believers. This means that Christians don’t have to do anything to save themselves. This eternal connection to Christ frees the Christian to live in service to others. This is vocation. Any position that a Christian fills in life to serve their neighbor is one of that person’s vocations.
This semester has already pushed me to think more deeply on what vocation means than ever before. In preparation for this semester, I had to ask why we were bothering to do a service learning project. In the beginning my reasoning was based solely on fulfilling the requirements of the project. However, through different readings and discussions, I have found a new reason for this project. The reason I am able to serve is because I don’t have to worry about anything. I am certain of salvation by grace through faith, and I am certain that Christ has forgiven me of all of my sins. Without having to worry about what I can do to save myself, this would lead to servant acts with selfish motivation, I am able to freely serve others. I am able to serve in difficult situations because I am certain that nothing will separate me from God. These revelations have been made especially apparent through reading The Freedom of a Christian and from studying Romans 8:38-39.
As I have reflected on vocation and what I have learned in the Honors program so far, I am amazed at how this class almost always ends up corresponding with other classes that I am taking. This semester I have already looked at Luther’s theology on vocation twice and it’s only been one week! Previously I have been able to tie Honors and psychology together and Honors and theology together. Being able to make the connections between classes has been beneficial for me because it has allowed me to see the same topic from multiple angles. Learning about vocation from two different classes with two different professors has allowed me to really dig deeply into it and make sense of vocation in my mind. It has given me time to reflect on how my gifts, talents, and passions can be used to serve others. Some of these gifts and passions that I look forward to using in my future vocation as a church worker include educating people, growing in my faith, and serving people in whatever ways I can. All of these traits will be utilized in my future vocations.