Rod's Reflection from Morning Service 7th March 2021

by Alderley Edge Methodist Church  |  Posted at 15:19pm on 8th March 2021

Reflection

 

1 Corinthians 1.  22

For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

 

 

The first ever Theological tome that I ever read was, in about 1977, Canon John Austin Baker’s book ‘The foolishness of God’.  It was recommended by our university chaplain as a really good read.  It was, but it was hard work!  Nevertheless, it was a step in my discernment of vocation.  If this is theology, then it’s not for me!  And it reaffirmed my vocation as a teacher. Just a year later and I was a Chemistry graduate, undertaking training as a Chemistry teacher and ready to go overseas (as we then put it) to teach science.

I was, and am, convinced that my vocation lay in science teaching as a missionary in Africa.  That was my vocation for that three year period.

 

 

Since then my vocation has been different, but it doesn’t invalidate that sense that, for that period of time, and for the three years after that when I worked in Knowsley, science teaching was my vocation.  I wonder what your vocation is now.  It might be the same as it has always been, but it may have changed as you have moved on, to different stage of life.  Vocation is not a static thing.

 

I draw two things form that: first that vocation is about ministry, but not necessarily about ordained ministry or even ministry within the church structures; second, that vocation can change over time.

 

Moses was called by God through his experience of a burning bush that was not consumed by the fire, and by the sense that he was standing on Holy Ground.  He was called by God to lead the people to freedom from captivity in Egypt and he didn’t have an easy time of it.  Time and again he would go back to God and say ‘are you sure?  Really?’ and God would say ‘Yes, I called you and I will be with you.’

 

Moses led the people to the shores of the sea, the sea of Reeds, and I can imagine him as he stood by the shore he turned to God and said’ something like ‘I though you said you would be with me’ and God says’ I di and I will.  Go on, get into the water’.

 

So Moses walks into the Sea and as he’s up to his knees he turns again to God “I thought you said you would be with me!”  “I did”, says God, and I will.  carry on.”

 

So Moses goes a bit further, up to his waist and still there’s no sign of God doing anything miraculous, so he turns again to God: ““I thought you said you would be with me!”  “I did”, says God, and I will.  carry on.”

Now up to his neck Moses turns again to God: “I thought you said you would be with me!”  “I did”, says God, and I will.  carry on” and at that point the wind started to blow and the waters parted and Moses and the people walked through on dry land.

 

Well, you can take that mythical conversation as you will, but it expresses something of a reality that Moses found and that I too have found over my life thus far.  When God calls, trust in God.

 

So, where do we see the signs of God calling now?  I sense it in the world around us.  Covid has given a chance to step back and to see where God is at work in the world; perhaps to face the enormity of climate change, or to sense the injustice at the way in which the world works, to ask how it can possibly be that in 21st century Britain so many people are living below the breadline>  And we could go on.  Where do you see sings of God in the world around us?

But I also see sings of God at work in the church, even in our Church I Alderley Edge.

 

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that we have had a ballet school using the building for many years, that for a while now there have been monthly music concerts and that we have now been approached about a youth arts group using the premises for storage and for rehearsals.  Maybe these are just fund raising opportunities, rentals of our premises, and that would be really good, because we are short of funds right now due to the pandemic.  |But maybe they are more than coincidence, just maybe God is giving us a n opportunity to dos something imaginative and creative in the field of performing arts.  Just, maybe….

 

Maybe it’s just coincidence that our church has enjoyed good relationships with St. Philip and St. James and that Churches together In Alderley edge is still going whereas in many places these ecumenical groups have ceased.

Maybe it’s just coincidence that the lockdown has pushed us to work ever more closely together.  To share in our ‘Thoughts for the day, in working together in thinking about Advent and the Village Advent Calendar, and now about Lent and Holy week – our Lent studies etc.

Maybe that’s all coincidence – or maybe, just maybe, its God incidence.  Maybe it’s a sing of God calling us to work together for mission in the performing arts, in worship, in learning and caring, in serve and in evangelism.. 

Just maybe there’s a new vocation that God is calling us to as a church.  And, as Moses was called to move on from the sea to the mountain top (as we read a few moments ago, and there was given a new set of instructions for life) maybe God is calling us to move on into a new phase of mission and ministry, with a new set of guidance for a living with Covid world.  Just maybe, God is still at work.  Hmmmm?

                                                                                                            

Let us pray.

Creator God, we are all created uniquely, in the thousand, thousand variants that we are – I thank you for the gifts and graces you have given to me.  As a community, we thank you for our variety and the different gifts and graces we have between us.

 

Amen.