It is now only 3 days till my licensing as a Lay Minister (Reader). I am very grateful to Father A who led our Quiet Day at Furzey House on Saturday for continuing your good work at getting my head round this ministry thing, and I’m now feeling much more positive about my walk with God and for God.
Furzey was a childhood playground of mine, in the village I grew up in, and in many ways it brought my story round in a Godly loop that just felt ‘right’. The weather was wonderful, plenty of warm sunshine in which to sit and pray as the honey bees buzzed – though in the end I discovered my favourite spot to pray was down the bottom of the gardens, leaning on a five barred gate, looking at sheep.
Father A took the theme ‘Here I am’ which started with a journey from the question “Who am I?” to which we would get many different answers from family, friends, congregation members. But essentially we are created by God. When God revealed himself in creation, he named things (birds, fish etc) and named us into being to.
To be reminded that I am part of what God wanted as the wonders of his creation because he wants me as his own, is awesome and humbling at the same time. My calling is therefore not to a specific task but to be God’s. (This had some great resonances with what Revd L said at MU Conference Eucharist last week about the fact that we are called to “be” not “do”.) Vocation is therefore a recognition of that calling by God to “be”.
For me, 2-3 weeks ago I was an Eli character – “the word of the Lord was rare” (1 Sam 3:1) – perhaps like him I had grown week, through distance from God, or just ‘overload’ of work. The recognition that I was not in the right place at least meant that I noticed the “lamp of God had not yet gone out.” In 1 Sam 3:11, God says to Samuel
I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.
That was Samuel’s original calling, and it sent me back to mine… ‘God on the phone’ was the moment when my ears definitely tingled, my heart lept with excitement that this was God calling me to a doing of something for him. There was a natural willingness to proclaim that here was my adventure with God.
I fell into Reader Training from there, but despite the lack of discernment (not an ear tingle in sight) there was a sense of rightness. However, I know I’ve not lived up to Samuel’s achievements as I have grown through training, as I’m sure I have let many “words fall to the ground” and I have a very real sense that I am only just starting the ‘real’ training!
I think it would be good to review my original thoughts from the start of Reader Training and see if my sense of calling is the same or different. I will try and go dig them out as they were pre-blog… but not tonight…
Actually I’m also looking forward to getting down to the mission essay when all the fuss is over, and perhaps sharing some more useful thoughts with you, but not this week I’m afraid.
Things have started to get busy for the weeend already, though the biggest problems seem to be with the service I’m leading on Sunday at which our Archdeacon is preaching – but that is another story. Tomorrow I am at Mothers’ Union Trustee Meeting, and they’ve had four pages by email of bright ideas that came out of last weeks Marketing Conference, though the one I really, really want them to take up is the ‘Messy Eucharist’ for the 2011 Festival. Friday I shall spend time with my spiritual director.
On the family front:
C managed 8 miles in a kayake in 2 hours 4 mins last Sunday on the Basingstoke Canal Challenge, coming 3rd out of the 6 Scouts in the county who did the distance. This meant he achieved a bronze medal. Tonight he started climbing at Craggy Island in Guildford, also with Scouts! What with all this and his sailing, he’s going to have serious arm muscles. We’re so proud of him and his willingness to try things, and he seems to love these personal challenges.
Keep seeing a Clouded Yellow Butterfly up on the heath at the back of the airport, but have I got the camera with me when I see it…? Er, no.