"Do not do good deeds for the sake of doing good. Doing good work is not the same as following God's calling on your life."
These are the words that escaped my mouth during a sermon in a dream. It seems that I was preaching to myself as these words continue to haunt me now.
The dream was wonderful. There was an beautiful old abandoned church in which several groups had begun to gather--different churches, homeless people seeking safe refuge, children hiding from parents, people starting new churches with no where to meet. We all gathered here and shared space. As I preached in one section of the church a conservative pastor preached to his congregation in another room. It was rather magical and finally someone came to shut it down.
But as they did another person led us to a less beautiful but abandoned mega-church. The altar was a small circle in the center of a circular sanctuary. Nothing separated the altar from the sanctuary except for the details in the carpet. There was no pulpit. The altar was not lifted up. Actually the pews sloped up from the altar--sort of like in a movie theatre where the seats in back are the highest part of the room. I remember pointing out that it was beautiful because the altar and pastor were not higher than the rest, they were not separate, they did not look over or down on the people--they were equal.
As I began to worry about how we would pay to cover the utilities, if we would be kicked out again, we discovered the building as a gift to us--all of us--utilities included. Outside of this modern and non-descript church where fields for the children to run and play. I worried a bit that it was far from the main roads but in the field there was room and safety for all to come and stay.
It was quite joyful as we discussed ways to share the space so we could all have a voice, take turns preaching and learning from one another. It was paradise.
Yet, I still feel haunted by those words, "Doing good work is not the same as following God's calling on your life." In the next few weeks I start my new job. I'm excited about my "good work." I also recognize that it is not my calling. I keep wondering, can I do both? If I can, how? Where is the line? What counts? What comes next?