Apr 24, 2024 Print This Article

Fear and excitement on Call Day

Call Day brings up emotions I wasn’t quite sure I had. On one hand, I have never felt so certain about getting a call. For four years, we labor both in and out of the classroom. It is rigorous. It is unpleasant sometimes. But it is very formative and for our good and for those we will serve in the parish. Not everyone who starts the Master of Divinity Program gets this far for various reasons, so when things get hard, uncertainty sets in. In your head you might hear, “Are you REALLY supposed to be here, doing this?” Sometimes you might hear, “You’re not as smart and as driven as your classmates. They are  more fit for this calling than you are, so why not just give up now?” At other times, life events get in the way, and wear you down during your Seminary studies. For me, it was life events. I was flooded out of my dorm twice in my first two years, and then a pipe burst on Christmas Eve that forced me out of my vicarage apartment for about two months. These were ways the devil used to get me to despair and be unsure about my Seminary studies.

Yet in the midst of all of those trials, God was faithful and pulled me through those hard times, strengthening me by the very Word and Sacrament ministry He is training me to carry out. No matter what happened, I was most certain that Jesus was with me and for me. Those temptations to despair, to give in and to be afraid of the unknown turned into times when I was called to cling to Christ even more tightly and trust His direction that everything would most certainly work out. Many other brothers in my class also went through their own trials and learned the very same lesson that I did. That is why many of us, despite any and all nerves, will be more excited than anxious — because we were formed for this.

And now after all of that, here I am. Having been certified recently, I will most certainly receive a call — Lord willing! All of that aforementioned hard work and steadfastness paid off. For my wife and me, there are still many things that are uncertain about this certain call. “What is the church and the saints gathered there like?” “How far will it be from our family?” “Where is the call going to be?” “How long do you think we will be there?” “What challenges will we face?” “Are we sure we’ll be able to afford housing there if there is no parsonage?” These are just some of the many questions we have, and most of them will be answered on Call Day. But my hope for that day (or any day for that matter) isn’t in the answers to those questions. It is in Jesus. He is my Lord, and my God is the Lord of the church. He will get me and my classmates where we need to go.

During your time at Seminary, you will no doubt feel some uncertainty. My advice? Stay faithful to Christ, who is your certainty, and all things will work out as He intends. You might not understand why times are hard or their purpose. But it is certainly not wasted and you’ll realize it on your Call Day as you look back and thank the Lord for this specific time of formation. He will send you to that church or ministry where you will be blessed through the Word and Sacrament ministry that you are called to carry out — no matter where that may be!

Samuel Aizenberg is a fourth-year Master of Divinity student. He received a call to Immanuel Lutheran Church in Carrollton, Mo., on Call Day April 23, 2024.