Daily Devotion 03 February 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Mark 1: 16-18 ‘Called to a New Vocation’

16 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake – for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

Vocations are normally associated with specially trained caring professionals of whom of course we are very aware and thankful for at present. We are also grateful ­– indeed indebted – to the millions of people in essential but seemingly non-vocational jobs who never signed up to be heroes, yet are making lockdown possible and bearable. I think of shopkeepers, delivery drivers, warehouse workers, refuse collectors – the list could go on.

Similarly, for whatever reason we are ‘shut in’ we can nevertheless fulfil a role that in one way or another can be regarded as a vocation. Being ‘shut in’ doesn’t have to mean ‘shut down’. Vocation is about a sense of being prompted to do a task. This prompting or ‘calling’ may be initiated by an ‘inner voice’. We may choose to recognize this as a straightforward response to need. We may choose to call this inner voice ‘God’. However we define this vocation, it does not require us to be professionally trained! After all, the first disciples learnt ‘on the job’ through the university of life experience, with Christ as their teacher.

Putting pen to paper, fingers to keyboards, voices to phones or video links are just some of the ways we are responding to a felt need. These simple actions are a means of exercising a caring pastoral vocation to those who may be anxious, lonely, grieving, sick or in need of some encouragement. Some may welcome a bit of a laugh and opportunity to share some positive news. I know that many of you also practise your care through daily prayer, aided perhaps by our church’s prayer chain and the weekly Zoom prayers.

Some years ago, I experienced a kind of lockdown, except it was called ‘convalescence’ after surgery. I had a few weeks confined to home and was therefore not able to practise my ministerial vocation in the usual way. During this time I wrote a hymn – something I had never done before. The hymn was inspired by the call of the first disciples, hence my title ‘Vocation’. It was written with the intention that every line should be applicable to anybody in whatever circumstance. I offer you the final verse below for our prayer for today (or even the hymn in its entirety via this link – Vocation (Hymn))

Prayer:

Spirit, Lord, may we heed all your callings,
be your presence wherever we are
bringing healing to those who are hurting
and praying for those near and far
liberating the lost and lonely,
as you lead us on our way
let us journey onward, with you,
learning to follow all of our days.

Reflection and Prayer © 2021 Gordon Harrison.
Image freely available online.

A printable version of this Daily Devotional can be downloaded from here
All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356