This morning I read about a person who was discerning whether or not to go to college; she asked God for a sign, like a rainbow, to confirm her path.
I'm not sure how I feel about that. It comes a little too close to treating God like a puppet, or expecting that we are puppets, or something. Or it personifies God too much. Yes, perhaps that's it. My friend Heather commented here a few weeks back that God is like a feminine presence, with us all, all the time.
For me, discerning has been less about signs and wonders, and more about attentiveness. Perhaps looking for signs is a different kind of paying attention, I don't know, but as I pondered my response I remembered the process of discerning that led me to apply to candidate for ordained ministry, or the moment of arriving at the decision, more precisely.
The call to ordained ministry for me was like standing at a junction, with several paths I could choose; some clear and safe, others enticing but hard to make out.
And having listened - really listened - to God and to myself for about a year, suddenly my mind and soul and body (yes, it was a physical knowing, which I feel even now, years later, as I recall it) together turned toward the direction I was going to take. It was like in stopping, and paying attention, I found or saw, the Spirit dancing around me, calling me into my own becoming - into the gifts the Spirit herself had given me - and the delight she exuded as I glimpsed the path that would lead me into fulfilling and fulfillment.
I have been preparing a portion of Paul's letter to the Corinthians to tell at Synod on Saturday, in which Paul observes that the Spirit gives us our gifts for the common good. We are one body, many members yes, but one together. None of us are whole on our own.
And those of us who have heard and seen the Spirit dance and are following her lead, must help others to hear and follow the call into our own becoming, together.