Journey with us as we begin a new book group on the book Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. The first official gathering will be on Tuesday, July 14th, at 1 p.m. at a Susan Origilia’s house here in Essex. Please contact Pastor Joy at RevJPerkett@gmail.com for the address. Hard copies of the book will be available at church on Sunday for $10 and the book is also available via Kindle.
For our first gathering, we will be reading the chapter one. Points of reflection for the chapter are posted below.
Questions for Reflection
-Do you sense God’s calling in your present life? How? In what ways? Looking back, what have been the major turning points, signs, or guiding events in your life so far?
-What other “voices” speak their desires for your life? How do you try to distinguish God’s call from these other voices in your life?
-Have you experienced any inner resistance to what you think God desires for your life? How about resistance from other people?
-Parker Palmer describes vocation not as “a goal I pursue” but as a “calling that I hear”. Palmer says, “Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.” What do you make of Palmer’s words? What are some different ways we might understand the word vocation?
-Frederick Buechner describes calling as “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet”. What do you make of his description?
-Have you begun to get clues about your deep gladness? What are they?
-How are you attempting to learn about the world’s deep needs? What have you learned?
-What puzzles you most about these views of calling?
-What do you need from God as you try to understand and respond to your calling?
Writing Exercise on Biblical Calls (crafted by Elaine Nocks)
Biblical texts on calling: Genesis 12:1-5a; Exodus 3:1-15, 4:10-17; Judges 4:4-10; 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Judges 4:4-10; Isaiah 6:1-8; Like 1:26-56; Acts 8:26-38; Acts 9:1-20
-Using the Biblical texts above or another passage of your own choosing, write a reflection on one of the epic “calling stories” of the Bible or other religious texts; that is, a story of someone being summoned or asked by God to do something special.
-Narrate the story in your own words as if it were happening to you or someone you know. You may even change the setting to a contemporary one as long as you are faithful to the primary images and purposes of the story.
-Describe carefully the setting, the present or on-going activity of the one being summoned, the medium through which the summons is received, the nature of the summons (what is asked), the immediate response of the one summoned, the continuing interaction between God and the one summoned, and the outcomes.
-Note all that you find important about the story, and then give your sense of the story’s testimony about the meaning of calling.
-If possible, share these calling stories with members of your group—the greater the variety, the more striking will be the complexity of calling. Are there unifying themes? If so, what are they?