On March 18th, 2012, I was ordained as an Interfaith minister. It was an initiation into a new chapter of my life – one that is dedicated to allowing the Divine to flow through me to serve the greater good. The journey began years ago, maybe even lifetimes ago, and even though I’ve finished seminary, it has only just begun.
The journey of a minister begins with a calling. It is a sense that something within wishes to be known and expressed. A call to step out in service to a higher power. An intuition that says, “hey, you are capable of more than you’ve limited yourself to.” This may sound familiar to you: for in truth, we’re all called to ministry.
No, I’m not talking about putting on robes and becoming a monk, or standing on a pulpit in front of a congregation. A ministry is actually a much broader term than that limited to those who serve as a religious or spiritual leader. The word minister comes from the latin word ministerium, which means service. A minister is a servant and an agent for something greater, whether for a government or for God. As a verb, to minister is to attend to the needs of, supply, provide, to bring unto, and to serve.
As I reflected on the meaning of ministry in preparation for my ordination ceremony, I began to think about this planet we live on and our role here as human beings. The Earth has an amazing diversity of life that has evolved over billions of years, and always strives to create harmony and balance. Ecosystems on the planet have their own checks and balances to maintain stability. We can see how every plant and animal in an ecosystem has an important role; they are all unconscious partners in keeping harmony in nature. When left to its own devises, nature generally maintains its own equilibrium.
Humans are the anomaly on this planet. While it might have a major impact in China if bamboo disappeared, or in California if coyotes and mountain lions were wiped out, human beings do not seem to offer an essential benefit to the ecosystem. In fact, the overwhelming evidence is that humans are predominantly detrimental to the Earth. The only benefits that I can see that humans contribute are to other humans – advances in science, medicine, and mathematics are solely for humans to better understand and respond to the world. Planting trees and rescuing injured wildlife do make a difference, but generally they are an attempt to clean up problems that we ourselves have created. We’ve polluted the water, air, and soil, devastated forests, and caused many species to become extinct, just for starters. Ecologically, there seems to be no good reason to have humans here at all – and if we left the planet tomorrow, it would likely be better off!
Yet, the truth is that we ARE here. And in huge numbers. What I know about the universe is that there are no accidents. Everything arises in the universe from a cause; and everything arises in consciousness from a source and for a purpose. We are here, and we have a purpose – a Divine purpose. No, it’s not to make a big contribution to the ecosystem, although if we are to survive here we’d better figure out how to better live in harmony with it. But we, each one of us, have been born here, in a human body, for a spiritual purpose. We have a mission, a calling – and it’s time we answered to that.
Listen to the messages
That means you – you, indeed, are here for a reason. It’s not an accident. And as I have been hearing the call for years and have been listening to it, you, too, have been getting messages. Perhaps they’ve been subtle; just an attraction to a book about plants or cooking, a feeling inside of longing to help animals, or situations that arise consistently that give you the opportunity to organize events for others.
At other times, you may have had big, bold messages. For example, when we are laid off from a job or suffer a physical injury, in the midst of the pain we begin to hear what has tried to get through the airwaves to us many times before. You are more than this! You have something unique and beautiful to offer that makes a difference in the world. Every single one of us has it, and every one of us is needed here to transform our world into its greatest potential.
Lifting the vibration
While sitting in a café in downtown Palo Alto a few weeks ago, I was putting together my thoughts about all this when an old familiar song played over the din of conversation and utensils in use. I heard this song in a new way, a way that addressed the fact that we are all here for a divine purpose to uplift all beings on this planet. “Think about it – there must be a Higher Love.” The song: Higher Love by Steve Winwood and Will Jennings.
Of course! It became crystal clear to me that we are here in large numbers because we are to lift the vibration of our world. Everything in the universe has a vibration, a frequency that it resonates at. The highest vibration of all, at least in spiritual terms, is that of love. Not limited love, like in a romance, but unconditional, Divine love. Love at its purest and most powerful.
Bring love into the world
As humans, we have both the capacity to sink to the lowest lows – war, abuse, torture – and to rise to the highest highs: to become one with the infinite source of all goodness and share that with all. We came here to be able to uplift ourselves and all life from what we have allowed to drag us down. We are here to bring a higher Love. This is our purpose for this lifetime.
Each of us has a unique way of bringing this love into our world. As I step into my ministry and find my own contribution, I am asking you to find yours. It’s time to step up and allow ourselves to express what has wanted to flow through us for years. Let yourself see the gifts you possess that bring healing, love, clarity, inspiration, peace, or empowerment to others. Again, from Higher Love:
Things look so hard everywhere
In this whole world, what is fair?
We walk blind and we try to see
Falling behind in what could be
We often wonder, but what am I supposed to do? What can I do? Yet the lyrics of the song give us a clue to understand our calling. We are all trying to see the vision of who we are here to BE. Rather than trying to figure out what to do, ask yourself “Who am I here to BE?” What qualities am I longing to embody? When you are being your authentic self, when you are embodying the qualities of your highest and best, the actions will naturally flow from you, and you’ll know what you’re here to do. Each step will be revealed to you, the more you allow yourself to become who you truly are, in your soul. This will reveal your calling, your service to the planet in this lifetime.
Who you ARE
Ram Dass, author of Be Here Now, spiritual teacher, and co-founder of the Seva Foundation (dedicated to serving others), said this of service: “Helping out is not some special skill. It is not the domain of rare individuals. It is not confined to a single part of our lives. We simply heed the call of that natural impulse within and follow it where it leads us.” Your calling, your ministry, arises from who you are, in every moment. It flows from what you let flow through you, whether you’re talking with a customer or client at your work or picking out broccoli at the grocery store. You bring it to wherever you are, because you ARE wherever you are. It’s not limited to your “work” in the world – it is unlimited, authentic expression of your Divinity, your spiritual Self.
I could light the night up with my soul on fire
I could make the sun shine from pure desire
Let me feel that love come over me
Let me feel how strong it could be
Your calling is to bring that Love here, right now, in everything you do. It may ask you to change your occupation; it may long to express through what you do right now. There is no way that it is “supposed” to look. But you will know what it feels like when you feel that love within yourself. Let it flow over you, and see how much you’re willing to let in. Every bit you let in opens you up for a little more. When you are filled with that Divine energy, you will light up the night – you’ll bring light into the darkness. It will overflow and you’ll naturally know what your calling, in this moment, is. And that will reveal the next moment.
Make a difference
Don’t be deterred by the fact that most of us aren’t going to create some great, grand international charity or profound social movement. If you touch the life of one other person or plant one tree, you are making a difference. It doesn’t have to move mountains. Together, as all of us begin to listen to the call, we’ll move more than that – we’ll touch the entire planet.
Listen to your call – and answer it. Right now. It starts exactly where you are, and evolves in each moment to reveal more possibility as you open to it more. Step up to your own ministry, your own service to this world, whatever it is. Claim it, even if you have no idea where it will lead you. You’ll find your own life transforming in ways you can’t imagine, and like ripples on a lake, who you are will flow out to touch all in your path.
Copyright © 2012 by Rev. Constance L. Habash