On 21 April we celebrated Vocations Sunday. As this is a church celebration it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking is it all about being a Vicar, all about ordained ministry. I am optimistic that at least some of the readers of this magazine will say ‘Oh no, it is more than that’ as they are aware of, and value, other ministries in our church, not least Reader Ministry, which has been part of the church for many years, and also our Pastoral Team and, let’s not forget, Mary Humphris and her commitment to our pre-school group ‘Inbetweenies’. Others, in the wider community, may rightly observe that there are many vocations not directly connected with the Church including doctors, nurses, teachers.
One of the hymns we sang at our Vocations Sunday service includes the words: ‘Here I am Lord. Is it I Lord? I have heard you calling in the night.’ ‘Calling’ is at the heart of any vocation – feeling called to take on a role, a career, a certain type of service. Something that keeps tugging at you and won’t go away, reminding you, pulling you to acknowledge and respond.
One of the common characteristics of vocation is selflessness, giving of yourself, your commitment, time and gifts for the benefit of others. Through responding to a calling and honouring it, we can make a difference to the lives of others.
On Sunday 20 May churches around the world will be celebrating Pentecost the day when the men, the disciples, who had responded to Jesus’ call to follow him, were enabled in their vocation by the gift of the Holy Spirit. This reminds us that when we hold God at the heart of our lives, not only will we hear his call but also, when we respond, we can do so knowing that he will enable us in making a difference to the lives of others.
I end this message with some more words from the hymn we sang on Vocations Sunday: ‘I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.’