Wednesday, January 28, 2015

the mindfulness of vocation

I love the way the prophets’ call begins (Old Testament Lectionary reading for Sunday 25 January 2015). In Jeremiah 1:4, “Now the word of the Lord came …”


Not yesterday or tomorrow, but now.

There is a time-bound, fully present, mindfulness to this call.

The entire passage in Jeremiah 1:4-10 is laced with God’s action. Considers the verbs – forms, knows, consecrates, appoints, sends, commands, delivers, touches (mouth), appoints. The whole process is about God’s actions.

The prophet is only a participant. What that requires of the human in response to God’s action, is a participation in the now.

One contemporary word to describe this is mindfulness. It’s common in schools and wellbeing workshops. It’s the intentional focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment.

On the now. This body, this community, this set of challenges, these invitations. I know churches and organisations caught up in God’s action yesterday. I know leaders who live constantly for the future. The challenge of Jeremiah 1:4 is for leaders to be in the now, responding to God’s actions in and around them.

This brings into play two essential practices of mission, those of listening and discernment. Listening, in order to pay attention to the “now” of God’s action; discerning, naming what it might mean to participate in what God is doing. Both of these practices, what Rowan Williams calls the first acts of mission, are “now” activities.

They will bring an alternative tomorrow, they will draw wisdom from yesterday. But they begin with the “now” of God’s action.

Posted by steve at 11:59 AM

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