Saturday, April 20, 2013

My sheep hear my voice - words for 8.00 on Vocations Sunday, Easter 4C

My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 

Today we celebrate vocations Sunday...and in case you were in any doubt, can I say loud and clear that vocation is for everyone.

The God who created the unique individual who is YOU gave you gifts to be used in his service...
An article on our diocesan website puts it rather neatly
We are all called, no matter what our occupations may be. There is no special status in the Kingdom for those in “top jobs” or “important responsibilities”...
It used to be that we understood particular paths as vocations – teaching, nursing, ordained ministry, the creative arts – but vocation simply means CALLING – and there is no doubt that each one of us has particular work to do for God.

During the Confirmation service, the bishop says to each candidate
God calls you by name and makes you his own” - but that calling begins long before we are ready to stand and make an adult commitment to our faith...From the very beginning the God who searches and knows us has a particular work for us to do.Our whole life should be a celebration of what God does for us,a response to the amazing love in which we live and move and have our being, a living out of God's purposes in our everyday world.
So...all we need to do is to listen for the voice of our Shepherd...because he knows us and knows where we should go.

But somehow, we seem to struggle with this.

Perhaps it's just that we've stopped expecting God to speak – so we don't REALLY listen.
Perhaps its because the path God calls us to seems at odds with our own understanding of our needs, our desires or our abilities.
Perhaps we doubt whether that inner restlessness, that sense that we are not quite at home where we are, is really God's voice at all.
A while ago a group of clergy friends came up with a check-list of ways we might know if God is calling us...a check-list that is only slightly humorous. 

If you’re having a hard time sleeping or concentrating on anything else, if
what you’re thinking about doing raises your blood pressure and makes it hard
to sit still, then you MIGHT be hearing the voice of God.
If you’re thinking of doing something that you don’t feel at all qualified or
prepared for, you MIGHT be hearing the voice of God.
If you are comfortable where you are, and something is provoking you to
try something (in service to others) that places your comfort in jeopardy, you
MIGHT be hearing the voice of God.
If your family and friends think you're crazy for even considering a
change that might place your comfort level at risk, you MIGHT be hearing the
voice of God.
If you stop worrying about whether you’re hearing the voice of God, you
MIGHT be hearing the voice of God.
If, no matter what other direction you explore, you keep finding the same
option opening up before you, you MIGHT be hearing the voice of God.
If you’re thinking of doing something that you enjoy doing, that you are
good at, but for the first time  with the intention of glorifying God and serving
others, you MIGHT be hearing the voice of God.
If you’re concerned about what others might think of
you, you MIGHT be hearing the voice of God.
If it seems impossible, you MIGHT be hearing the voice of God.

What do you think? Does it ring true for you?

If it does, and if you're absolutely scared stiff....take heart. 
This is GOD'S call for you, remember...and Jesus is very clear about what happens to those who hear his voice and follow his lead.
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand."
If we trust our shepherd and follow his voice - all shall be well.

And if none of that strikes a chord at all – it might just be that you are exactly where God wants you to be, singing the song that He has given you to sing...
If that is so, then sing it with all your might...with every breath of your body, day by day.
There is no greater joy than in BEING true to the self that God has responding to the call of the shepherd who is himself the way that leads to eternal life.


Liz H (@farliz) said...

Great homily. I must be reading this as you are preaching it.
Particularly loved the checklist of when you might be hearing the voice of God.
Really important to demystify vocation.
Have a great day.

Billster said...

I love reading your sermons/thoughts. Great to have different perspectives.

Billster said...

I love reading your thoughts/sermons, great to get a different perspective. Bx