As mentioned in my previous post I have spent some time since Sunday reading. I use the minutes between calls, on commercials, waiting for the chicken to BBQ through and the wee hours of the morning when most of humanity is sleeping, to get through the pages. I have had three books going since I finished ‘Not the Religious Type.’ On Monday I began a visit with a book that our youth minister Jane Cornett gave me as a gift. It is entitled HOKEY POKEY; Curious people Finding what Life’s all About. I will no doubt finish this book later tonight and I must say I have been impressed by it. It is a light-hearted and yet serious look at the idea of calling. Not the pick up the phone and give me a ring kind of calling but the God wants me to do something with my life calling.

The Author is Matthew Paul Turner and he is writer who not afraid to expose his own weaknesses and vulnerabilities and I am attracted to his writing style because of that. While the book is not going to be a CS Lewis classic like Mere Christianity, it is a great book for all persons who are journeying in faith. He with ease dispels the idea that calling and career are the same and affirms the idea that no matter what we do to earn a living, we all still have to answer God’s call.

Now there is a very interesting set of conversations in this book about listening for God and hearing God speak. This is a bit if a wash for me, because for me God speaks mostly in and through people whom I encounter. Turner does acknowledge that each person may hear god differently. He suggests that we all need to ask ourselves how it is that we make time and space to hear god and how we hear that ‘voice’ when God does speak.  For me it is all about others. This morning after waking I picked the book up again and I read these words;

“One thing I have learned in my own personal stroll through life is this: A crucial part of our calling is very much dependant on how we interact with people that God puts on the path with us, beside us, and even behind us. Sometimes people come into our lives for only a season. And sometimes, these people walk the curious path with us for a lifetime. Whatever the case might be, an important part of your calling is building, serving, encouraging, and empowering your relationship with others.”     

I believe this could not be truer. There are people in my life like my parents and my siblings who have been a constant and who being in relationship with is for me always about seeking God’s direction as we try to live love and nurture, even when it is complex. Nearly 15 years ago I met Catherinanne and again, in seeking to live in the bonds of covenant love called marriage there are glimpses of the holy and the divine. I tell people all the time that I feel in love with Catherinanne when I learned how faithful she is. She has been as well a long term witness to me. I am sure that there are days that being a kind witness to me is not easy for her (I can be difficult from time to time), but she keeps on witnessing to me, even when I don’t deserve it. And I try my best to be a witness for her. Our calling is dependant on how we relate to each other and it is true of those that are with us for a long time.    

But it is also true that there are those who come into our lives for a cup of coffee and leave the most lasting of impressions. Let me tell you about Nan Squires. I only knew here for less than a year. She was a woman in her 90s. She breezed into our lives when Catherinanne and I were living in Labrador West. She was full of life and full of what in Newfoundland we always called ‘devilment.’ She had a special glimmer in her eyes that just kept saying ‘live, love, live, love.’ Sometimes it looked like that glimmer was saying, “I just pulled a fast one on you and you don’t even know it!’ She was a great person. In the few months that we knew her we learned so much about her, but even more about ourselves because of her. She never let you leave without saying ‘I love you.’ She was only in our lives for a season (granted winter is a long season in Labrador), but she continues to be a part of who I am and how I try and encourage, serve and love others. For me, I heard God’s voice when Nan Squires spoke.

I had a quote emailed to me the other day. Rick Warren says that “Faithful servants never retire. You can retire from your career, but you will never retire from serving God.” I thought of our Honorary Assistant Geoff Dibbs. He has retired from his career, his ministry as a rector over 20 years ago. Geoff never retired from encouraging, supporting, loving, caring, and empowering others. Our parish has benefited greatly because Geoff appreciates the idea of service. I like the Hokey Pokey and I like this book. I look forward to finishing it and seeing what other nuggets may be inside. Thanks for the Book Jane – I’ve really enjoyed it!