A legend recounts the return of Jesus to heaven after his time on earth. He returned bearing the marks of his earthly pilgrimage with its cruel cross and shameful death.
The Angel Gabriel approached him and said “Master you must have suffered terribly for people down there.”
“I did” said Jesus.
“And” continued Gabriel “do they know all about how you loved them and what you did for them ?”
“Oh no” said Jesus. “Not yet. Right now, only a handful of people in a small place called Israel know.”
Gabriel was perplexed. “Then what have you done” he asked “to let all the people know your love for them ?”
“Well, I have asked Peter and Mary and Joanna and John and Cleopas and a few others to tell people. Those who are told will tell others and the gospel will spread to the farthest reaches of the earth. Ultimately all of humankind will hear about me and what I have done on their behalf.”
Gabriel frowned and looked sceptical. He knew people weren’t dependable. “Yes” he said “but what if Peter and James and John grow weary ? What if the people who come after them forget ? And what if, way down in the 20th and 21st Centuries, people get too busy to bother telling others about you; haven’t you made any other plans ?”
“No, I have made no other plans Gabriel” Jesus answered. “I am counting on them.”
Yesterday (4th Sunday in the Easter Season) marked, as it does now in many church denominations, Vocation Sunday. It is an annual reminder to pray for those who are preparing for any kind of accredited form of vocation such as Mission or Ordination or Pastoral Care or some other form of lay Leadership.…. It is a great joy that there are ever more of these and not only in the Anglican Church. Many of you know that my particular understanding has always been that Vocation is rooted in our Baptism. As such I invite parents and godparents to help their youngsters discern what the vocation of our young people is as well as will be. Parallel to that of course is the reality that many adults have no experience of discerning or articulating what their calling or vocation is or might be. This is often a conversation I have with any newcomers to our church – St Catherine’s in Stuttgart. Though on this Musings platform the question could just as easily be asked of anyone who subscribes to and receives this week by week. There are many good reasons why we have 4 gospels and not just one. One of those reasons is that each gospel writer chooses different focus or emphasis…. and what the gospel writer Luke is particularly brilliant at serves us well here:
He has Jesus going on a long journey and Jesus does much of his teaching on that journey giving us as a parallel the symbol that the Journey of Discipleship is a case of ‘learning by doing’.
More specifically as he sends out ‘the seventy’ (chapter10) at the very beginning of this epic and symbolic as well as actual journey – Jesus makes the point that right from the start Discipleship is about participation because it is only in participating (what we now call stakeholding) that we truly belong and find our Calling or Vocation.
And so we give thanks for and also pray for:
All who connect in some way with St Catherine’s
- those who have a formal role and those whose vocation is to be helping hands
- those many who have invisible roles
- those discerning what their role might be
- those praying and reading scripture and listening to what God might be calling them to
- those who have the joy and the responsibility to help our youngsters discern their calling
- those who have no vocation at present because they are in some difficult or painful place
- those who might think of themselves as too young or too old – think Jeremiah and Abraham
Whether you were able to join us on Palm Sunday for the Passion Reading or not plans are developing for the next such event: Rogation – Sunday 9th May – 16:00
We are looking for as many people as possible to contribute to this service (in advance) with ideas relating to sense of Place
Calling – Fellbach + Möhringen + Rohr + Bad Canstatt + Gerlingen + Sonnenberg + University + Kircheim am Teck + Ludwigsburg + City + Zuffenhausen + Stuttgart West + Giebel + Vaihingen + Bodelshausen + Süßen + Filderstadt + Wolfschlungen + Plienigen + Ostfildern + Wildberg + Nufringen + Sulzback + Reutlingen + Aidlingen + Remseck + Schwäbisch Gmünd + Ditzingen + Althütte….. or indeed anywhere !