Archbishop Barry’s Letter to the Diocese – Third Sunday in Advent – 14th December, 2014.Published on 17th December, 2014
YR EGLWYS YNG NGHYMRU THE CHURCH IN WALES
ARCHESGOB CYMRU AC ESGOB LLANDAF, Y PARCHEDICAF DDR BARRY MORGAN
ARCHBISHOP OF WALES AND BISHOP OF LLANDAFF, THE MOST REVEREND
DR BARRY MORGAN
TO BE READ IN ALL CHURCHES OF THE DIOCESE AT ALL SERVICES ON
THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT – 14th DECEMBER 2014
Our Diocesan Director of Ordinands, the Rev’d Dr Trystan Hughes, said recently that, as a child, his favourite Old Testament story was the call of Samuel in the Temple late at night. The old priest Eli eventually realises, when Samuel asks him if he has been calling him, that it is God’s voice that the young boy has heard, and so tells him to answer: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening”.
Trystan loved the story of Samuel’s calling so much that he used to lie awake at night, listening to hear whether his own name would be called out. Every night, however, he was disappointed by the silence! Then, one night, he finally heard his name, like a whisper in the wind. He remembers being scared, but, after the voice continued whispering his name, he plucked up the courage to reply: “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening”. And the voice did, indeed, reply: “I have an important task for you – tomorrow you must go out and buy your wonderful older brother the most expensive birthday present you can find!” At that point he noticed the shadow of that brother outside his door. He was so upset that, for many years, he thought that God would never call him to do anything.
He was, of course, as we know, eventually ordained; but, of course, the reality is that God calls each and every one of us in all kinds of ways. For we are all challenged to respond to God’s call through living out God’s love and compassion in our everyday lives, and often to specific ministries within the church, whether lay or ordained. The question is never “Is God calling you to do something?” It is always “What is God calling YOU to do?” And, to answer that question, we have to be alert to God’s preferred method of communication. He speaks to us through other people, and through ordinary everyday events that happen to us. God does not force Himself upon us, but tries to persuade and lure us in all kinds of ways. We need to be alert to His presence in our lives.
Each one of us is part of the body of Christ; all of us have different gifts and talents, all of us are challenged to respond to God’s call. Across Wales, new ways of doing ministry are taking shape, and there are innovative changes in ministerial training; while, in the Diocese, Seven Sacred Spaces is being used in the discernment of vocations, and a team of vocations advisors are available to meet and discuss what your particular call might be – lay or ordained. Please don’t be afraid to contact them and ask to speak to one of them about God’s call in your own life.
The challenge of Advent is to think of what God’s call might be to you, and to ask how you can use your gifts and talents to serve Him. No talent is less important than any other, for, as the late Bishop Tony Crockett put it: “A Satsuma is not a failed orange!”
God, according to the New Testament, is calling each one of us to bring light into people’s lives, to help build up our church community, and to serve our local community by sharing His love. His hope is that each one of us will confidently reply to that call: “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”
Yours in God’s love,
Llys Esgob, Lawnt y Gadeirlan, Llandaf, Caerdydd. CF5 2YE
Llys Esgob, Cathedral Green, Llandaff, Cardiff. CF5 2YE
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