On Queens and Vocation – Sisters of Katie Luther

Today is a monumental day in England, as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II surpasses Queen Victoria’s record as longest reigning British Monarch. As American Lutherans, we may not recognize her as our Head of State or Head of Church, but we can learn from the example she has set in the last 63 years, seven months, and three days (and counting), as she has lived out her Christian vocation in a way that is rarely seen so publicly. The Sisters of Katie Luther kindly indulged me, and allowed me to write on this topic on this historic day:

Today, September 9th, 2015, Queen Elizabeth II surpasses Queen Victoria’s record as the longest-reigning monarch in British history. Why should we, as Americans who have no queen, or as Lutherans, who do not answer to the head of the Church of England, pay attention to this, or care about it at all? Does it even matter to us? I think it matters a great deal. Why? Because the Queen, more than any other modern person I can think of, not only understands the concept of Christian vocation, but lives it out fully, every day of her life.

Source: On Queens and Vocation – Sisters of Katie Luther

Vivat Regina Elizabetha!


Quote of the Day

If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Vocation Day

In honor of “Vocation Day” (known more popularly as “Labor Day”), I’d like to mention two people who, I think, have an incredible sense of vocation, even though that is probably one of the things they’re least recognized for: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

Her Majesty wasn’t supposed to be the Queen. Her father was the second son of the monarch, which means he should never have been King. But, his brother Edward, (who had a terrible sense of vocation), abdicated the throne, leaving his brother, King George VI (another man with an astounding understanding of one’s vocation), to clean up his mess, and become the ruler he wasn’t supposed to (and never wanted to), be.


Now, maybe he would have been King eventually, or at least his daughter become Queen, because there’s some debate over whether Edward ever would have had children. But, he did become King, and Elizabeth was his oldest child. She herself was never even considered the “heir apparent,” but rather “heir presumptive,” because, regardless of her place as oldest child, had a son been born to King George at any point before his death, because of the laws regarding primogeniture at the time, he would have ascended the throne. There was no son, however, and so Elizabeth dutifully took on a role that she never expected or wanted, and that had likely hastened her own dear father’s death.


Prince Philip is another fantastic example. It was fairly obvious at the time of their wedding that he was marrying the future monarch, so that wasn’t a surprise to him by any means. But they weren’t, of course, expecting King George to die so suddenly or so young, and Philip was expecting to have more time in his chosen career–the military. But that wasn’t meant to be, and so he dutifully took on a role that most men would struggle with–walking two steps behind his wife for the rest of their lives (over 60 years, to date). He gave up his career to solely support her in everything she does, and he’s done it well. It wasn’t the role he expected for the vast majority of his life, but he gladly set aside his personal ambitions to do the task which was given him, the task he knew would be his someday, but not so soon.


A lot of people don’t take monarchies seriously anymore; they think they’re antiquated and unnecessary in today’s world. But you can’t deny the sense of vocation a good, God-fearing monarch (and his or her family), has. Queen Elizabeth has always taken seriously her God-given role as Queen, and has lived her whole life to serve her people, as God expects her to do, even when it wasn’t what she personally wanted for her life.

That’s a proper understanding of one’s vocation.

Vocation Day

I love Gene Veith’s understanding of vocation, and I am all for joining with him, and celebrating today, not Labor Day, but Vocation Day!

“This blog has, for a number of years, been engaged in a crusade to co-opt the secular Labor Day and to get it on the church calendar as a holiday that celebrates the Christian doctrine of vocation.   I think it is working.   I’ve been hearing people making the connection.  (Did you hear that on Sunday?)

Remember that vocation does NOT just mean your job, which is important for the over 9% of Americans who do not have one.   Our calling from God also and even more importantly has to do with our positions in our families (as son or daughter; husband or wife; father or mother), the church (pastor or “hearer”), and the state (ruler or citizen).  All of these are estates to which God stations us to live out our faith in love and service to the neighbors that each office brings into our lives.  “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him” (1 Corinthians 7:17).

The reason we celebrate Vocation Day by NOT working, even though we are honoring economic labor, is to give recognition also to our other vocations:  our families (by spending time with them) and our country (to share in a national holiday doing cultural-specific activities such as grilling out and thinking about sports).”

via Vocation Day | Cranach: The Blog of Veith.

How Trash Collectors are Like Pastors

OK, I know it sounds like a stretch…trash collectors are like pastors? Just hear me out.

I was thinking Friday morning, as I took the last of the week’s trash out to the curb before the truck came rolling through, how much I enjoy garbage day. And it’s not because I love watching the automated arm reach out and grab the trash can (although, I have to admit, after seeing it for almost four years, I do still marvel at that invention!), and certainly not because I enjoy the noise that accompanies the garbage and recycling trucks every week.

What I love about trash day is the feeling of starting over. I can toss all the garbage, all the mess, all the mistakes that have been building up for a week (or more, when you factor in the Labor Day holiday), and have the feeling, no matter how brief it is, that there is no more trash in the house or in the can, no mess to be dealt with, nothing dirty and gross sitting around, waiting to be disposed of.

Isn’t that exactaly what happens on Sunday mornings? When the pastor speaks those words of Absolution, I have that same feeling, only magnified about a zillion times, and on a much more personal level. Even though I know I will sin again, probably before the service has even ended, (just as I know that before the end of the day there will probably be fresh trash in the can), I have that feeling of starting over, of being made clean.

So, just as I am thankful for my pastor, and those words he speaks in the place of Christ that let me know that I am forgiven and clean, I am also thankful for my trash collector, who provides a similar service that provides order to other parts of my life.