Many of us in polytheist communities feel called to serve in some way. We feel the gods tapping on our shoulders, beckoning us towards Them. Some of us may feel Their bonds tighten around us. The problem is that it is not always obvious how we are to serve. We have some very powerful examples of lives lived in service to the gods in our communities, and I am grateful for those people and the Work that they do, but I think that we can sometimes form mistaken ideas about serving the gods when we draw from them.
Many of us are called to serve, but there is more than one form of service. Some people are called to give their lives over to their gods, to live wholly and completely in Their service. These people do holy Work, and we should support them where we are able. But some of us are not called to any great Work – many of us are called to smaller Works and that is no less valid. To live as your gods call you to live is vital, and I think we tend to overlook the fact that not everyone is called to great and difficult Work.
If you are called to pray daily and pour weekly libations – do that, and keep in mind that you are doing what is needed of you.
If you are called to pray weekly and pour libations only on holidays – do that, and keep in mind that you are doing what is needed of you.
If you are called to give the entirety of your life over to your gods – do that, and keep in mind that you are doing what is needed of you.
If you are called to serve your community in some way – do that, and keep in mind that you are doing what is needed of you.
The Work to which others are called does not define your Work. I’ve seen in several places people saying that polytheist and pagan communities need laypeople as much as we need clergy. It is true. But I think we can lose sight of what that means. A Catholic priest is required to say specific prayers each day and he consequently gives over a much larger portion of his day to prayer than the average layperson. Levels of devotion among laity vary, but it is commonly understood that laypeople are able to devote less time to prayer than is a priest.
You do not have to spend hours each day in prayer. Your every waking thought need not be of your gods. If your gods have given you no great Work to accomplish, that does not mean that you are incapable of serving Them. I believe that whenever we engage with the gods, we weaken the barriers that we have built between our world and Theirs. This is necessary, holy Work.
Do your holy Work. Say your prayers, pour your libations. It is enough.