THRESHOLDS: Paul Deakin is heading back to Mirfield tonight. I’ll be meeting with Tracy Ward tomorrow. Rachael Elizabeth (above) preached a fine sermon at St Michael’s this morning – and what each of these people have in common is their membership of the parish family here in Bramhall, and a sense – each at their different stages – of calling to test vocations to the priesthood. And this is really what Gospel good news is all about – not just call to priesthood, of course, but call at all, to all.
Divine call is still heard today, even in the midst of our all-too-busy – and what my late mentor Bishop Victor Whitsey used to call “naughty” – world. The spark of the Divine is to be found alive and well in the heart of all life. And teachers are taught by those they’re called to teach! Paul, Tracy and Rachael are amongst the contemporary apostles of Jesus who teach and inspire me.
Many, many people have spoken to me of their newfound confidence – whilst the echoes of Rachael’s address were still in the air – that under Grace the Church will yet thrive and grow in the things of God, in all that she is called and directed to be. God plants the seeds.
I’m reminded of the Lebanese mystic Kahlil Gibran:
Then said a teacher: Speak to us of teaching. And he said: No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge. The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness. If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind. The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding. The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm, nor the voice that echoes it. And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither. For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man. And even as one of you stands alone in God’s knowledge, so must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of God and in his understanding of the earth …
Again: God plants the seeds in the heart of all created things. Divine call will lead Paul and Tracy and Rachael to the thresholds of their own minds, as I am continually led to mine. And I watch, and I wait, in awe, and in gratitude, and in wonder.