2019 US Vocation Sermon

By the Rev. Michelle Bullock

Episcopal Academy

1 Timothy 4:11-16

January 14, 2019

A spiritual director once told me, “I’m convinced that children are born looking in the face of God, but they are taught to look away. Then, when we grow up, we spend the rest of our adulthood trying to find God’s face again.” This is why I love working with children. And in many ways, finding my vocation has been a story of turning back to God’s face. Along my way, lots of people and a few little holy moment--my own epiphanies-- have pointed me towards where I believe God has always called me.

The first.

When I was 6 years old, I remember standing in the kitchen with my dad. I said, “Daddy, when I grow up, I want to be a preacher.” My dad very gently told me, no, you can’t be a preacher. The Bible says you can’t be a preacher because you are a girl.

I heard my father and I didn’t question him or our beliefs. I thought, well, my Dad said this is true, so it must be so. I believed this for the next 20 years.

The second.

When I was 8 or 9, I remember standing in my grandma’s living room and realizing that whatever in the world I was going to do, it was going to involve being a voice and an advocate for kids. My childhood was hard. I hated being a kid. My parents went through a nasty divorce that involved constant court battles, police interference, and my brother and me being stuck in the middle of a nasty war of words and that was sometimes physical. I remember thinking no one really heard me and spoke up for me. I vowed I’d never do this to kids when I grew up.

So, when I went to college, I majored in Elementary Education because I very much believe that the strongest advocates for children are teachers. For a little while, teaching fulfilled me.

The third.