I just had a thought about “callings” that I wanted to think through more.
I understand that in 1 Corinthians, Paul says they are “called to be Saints” but the translation could also be “called Saints.” The difference is slight but I think interesting. If we are “called to be” something, then I hear that as meaning we have been “invited” or “asked” or “divinely chosen” to be something. For example, we might be “called” as a Bishop or a YW President. This is the way we think generally about “callings” I think.
The other way of saying it – “called Saints” – could of course mean the same thing, but the way I heard it today was something like “named Saints” or we’re going to “call” you Saints, even though that isn’t necessarily what you are or what your name is. I think this could be an interesting way to think about “callings” in Church. You aren’t at root a YW President. Any of the women in the ward could be the YW President. But we are going to call you the YW President for right now. You are going to put on that hat and play that role for the benefit of the ward. You are essentially being asked, “Will you accept this naming for the present time? Can we give you a new name for a while and can you be that person?” To me, it emphasizes our equality and I like that. The fact that we can switch up callings every few years (or less) says something. It’s like we’re the “body” that Paul talks about, with all its different members, but then we can also sometimes be a hand and sometimes be a foot and sometimes be a head. I think that makes all the more members of a body who can’t say that we aren’t really important, or that we are more important. A certain “name” or position might have more leadership of the entire body, but we aren’t that position. We have been “named” or “called” that position, but we aren’t that, in and of ourselves. We have been asked if we can be named that name (of Bishop, or President, or Teacher, or Missionary…) and then set apart as that for a limited space of time.
So I like that idea. I think it helps me remember our equality. We’re all ordinary people, and God is doing something extraordinary with us. And with you. And with others. And then we change it all around and he does something else extraordinary with us. That’s pretty cool.