As I sit here, in the night, amidst the packing boxes in my study, indeed in a house full of packing boxes, having earlier in the evening chaired the PCC of St Thomas’s in Harelaw & Annfield Plain for the last time, reality has hit that the Murray household are on the move. It seems a long time ago, when in January I came to Belmont and Pittington for an informal visit. I must thank you for your patience as you wait for me to arrive.
I recall speaking to the assembled group of parish representatives back then about the well-known passage from 1 Samuel, chapter 3. This passage of scripture has had a great influence at various stages of my Christian journey as I am sure it has had for many. It was through this passage and being repeatedly woken at night that eventually persuaded me to consider applying to come here as your priest.
Again, tonight, at St Thomas’s PCC meeting I found myself using this passage once more during our prayers. It helped me to reconcile with those I am leaving behind, that I truly did feel called to move on and with God’s prompting and through me eventually listening, there was kindled a desire to respond to God’s call with those wonderful words, “here I am, you called me”.
However, this isn’t just about me! Firstly, it is about the people I am leaving, those whom I have loved and who will hold a special place in my heart, for they have loved me too. But, they also are called to something new. They are called to respond to God’s voice in a new way.
And of course, it is about you as well. The call of Samuel could just well be the call to each of us. The challenge though, is sometimes in the listening and recognising that it is God who is speaking to us. It is also in the hearing and ultimately in the responding.
And so, as I reflect (at an unearthly hour), I wonder what God might be saying to us, or, what God will say to us as we set out on a new stage of our journey together, both in the church and among the wider community?
My belief is that he calls us to care for one another, to love one another, to love those we are called to live amongst and to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength. If we can do that, everything else will come naturally. I pray also that we listen to what he might be saying to us, about who and what he is calling us to be and do and that we might be renewed and inspired by Him who loves us all with immeasurable love. Let us then, in the next two or three weeks as we prepare for our journey together, listen for God’s voice, that together we may respond as one, “here we are, you called”.
Meanwhile, by the time you read this, it is likely we will have moved or be in the process of moving and settling into the Vicarage. Be assured of my prayers for you as we wait for July 8th when I am licensed. I am sure you will be praying for us too – thank you!
With every blessing, Heather.