On this third anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood in the Anglican Church, I have been reflecting on the many calls within this rather particular Call. A prayer that was deeply meaningful to me in the earliest days of my discernment, has stayed with me, and been much on my mind of late. Found within the pages of a booklet given to prospective ordinands and written by Roger Spillar, it sketches out this multistranded, many layered call. Naming a few of the strands, Roger’s word pictures spoke volumes to me then, and continue to do so.
So many facets within one vocation, so many different ways of expressing that call. Thankfully God doesn’t have a box marked ‘priest‘ he expects us all to fit. Fear of this potential box underlay much of my gargantuan struggle with God in the earliest days of my call towards ordination. The church down the centuries has had many a priest shaped box, sometimes even ordaining people as priests and bishops against their will.. But God I was to discover, wanted me to be me. The me, he had created and shaped.
I could write reams on this, but today I will simply keep to the prayer.
Lord, you call us to be story- tellers
Planting your explosive news into our defended lives;
Locating us in the script of your human history.
You call us to be trail blazers
Living in your future that we receive only as a gift;
Subverting the fixed, fated world of low horizons.
Tracing, stretching, connecting the knotted threads;
Gathering up unraveling, disconnected lives.
For Christ’s sake: bearing life’s absurdities and incongruities;
Puncturing our seriousness and grandiosity.
Welcomers of the sacred, intimate, transfiguring;
Lavish celebrants of our communities and homecomings.
You call us to be poets;
Artists and illuminators of inner space
Naming, invoking, heralding your ineffable presence.
Sowers, cultivators and nurturers of fragile lives;
Benefactors of your gratuitous harvest.
Celebrating polyphony, coaxing symphony;
Orchestrating the praise of your inhabited creation.
Lord, you lavish gifts on all whom you call
Strengthen and sustain us and all ministers of your church
That in the range and diversity of our vocation
We maybe catalysts of your Kingdom in the world.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
*for limited edition prints of ‘As kingfishers catch fire’ email the artist at firstname.lastname@example.org