Monday, July 16, 2007

An Invitation to Listen to Your Life

What does God want me to do with my life?

Isn't that the question that lives in each of us as some point?

Or, how about this one - Am I doing what God wants me to do? And if I'm not, why not?

We treat that question as if it's something we can't know the answer to absent some blinding light - burning bush experience.

When I broach this question with lay people, invariably I hear that it's easy for me because I'm a member of the clergy, God made it abundantly clear what I was supposed to do. Ahhh, Right. Keep on believing that if you must, but ask any of us who have accepted the yoke of obedience and see if it was crystal clear and was a call answered without a wrestling match first.

Being the spiritually impatient people we are, we tend to think that unless the signs in life blink in neon or are posted on a billboard, it's something we can't ever fully know.

The result of that is living our days hoping that it's what God wants for us - or, what God needs from us - and we know deep down, that given our own power to choose - we'll always tend to live in ways that will require less risk of us and more security.

Starting this Sunday, and there following for six weeks, I invite you into a conversation with God and each other through a series of sermons based upon Parker Palmer's book, "Let Your Life Speak: Listening to the Voice of Vocation."

As a beginning point, I have been seeking to do the very thing I'll be asking the congregation to do - listen. Not to me, so much - but to the voices of their lives, because it's there that the voice of God is known.

There's something about being on a beach in late in the afternoon, the crowds have thinned out, the winds have shifted and are blowing in from the surf providing a refreshing breeze against the setting sun - that you can hear the voices of God through speaking in the rhythmic cadence of waves crashing, of seagulls calling for someone to feed them - it never fails to be, at least for me, a place for conversation with the Sacred.

If the day comes when I take an extended leave - be it sabbatical, renewal leave, or whatever we're calling it now, some folks may prefer the mountains (and they are beautiful), but I'm going to the beach.

The problem with listening well to the voice of God as spoken through our lives, is that we may not like what we hear. The temptation to ignore what we hear is real. So, too, is the tendency to immerse ourselves in guilt for not being what God desires of us. But guilt is an escape mechanism from doing and being what we really called to be.

So, join me these next weeks in a time to stop, to listen, and then be prepared to respond to the voice of vocation being uttered right in front of us, even within us, waiting to be embraced.

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