Sunday, 3 April 2011

liturgy and life

I went to an Area Vocations Day.

It made me more certain that I need to pursue this vocation stuff seriously, and also pretty frustrated at the people who were organising the day. There were too many people, the vocations stuff was combined with "leadership" stuff which was pretty evangelical in its leaning and seemed to be more about equipping people for proselytisation than about a broader definition of leadership, there wasn't enough time to reflect, process, breathe... they tried to have some silence after each speaker but starting late didn't help, and the speaker who I most wanted to hear had to rush her talk rather badly (it was still excellent, and I'm glad I went if only to hear that).

There was worship, but it was almost entirely unfamiliar liturgy -- no benediction or confession or absolution, no doxology, no psalmody (except for about two lines), no sacrament. No Lord's Prayer, even, or if there was I managed to forget (I don't think I would forget). I didn't know either of the songs. There was praise and there was intercession, both in very personal terms... flattery and whining. No depth, no real cohesion.

Thank God -- a church in a neighbouring deanery has a Eucharist early on Saturday evenings for those who struggle to get there on Sunday mornings. I met Sweetie for a bite to eat and then went there, taking refuge, sanctuary. The Lord be with you, said the priest, and I was home again, never mind the unruly children running about the place, the lack of music. At some point I wept, not the anxious and embarrassed tears I'd been holding back earlier in the day, but just out of relief. I felt physically lighter and my mind seemed less dark -- en-lightened.

We talked afterward, the vicar and I, or rather she listened while I talked, scattered and unfocused after the events of the day. I floated home, exhausted, still upset, still uncertain, still frustrated but aware of being loved, connected to and grounded in the love that underpins everything.

How many times, earlier in the day, did I hear people talk about equipping Christians for outreach and mission, equipping people to change the world?

What feeds me, sustains me, equips me to do my work, is prayer and sacrament, mystery and miracle.

Maybe providing more of that would be more useful than having fancy leadership conferences.

Just saying.


UKViewer said...

Sounds quite a mixed up and poorly organised event. But glad that you got something from it.

My first vocations event was so peaceful, with lovely prayer and a few, but relevant critical speakers, representing both ordained and lay ministry. What it did do, was to give me an appetite for more and to move forward with a formal application to meet the DDO.

I genuinely believe that the DDO is the only one, really worth speaking to at this stage. Vocations advisors seem to point you in different directions, at the same time. I felt early on that the call was to Ordained Ministry, but was diverted towards starting training for Lay Ministry, only for the DDO to cancel that, saying that it might distort my view and that of the selectors on the validity of any discernment process.

I will be praying for you on this journey, and would be happy to talk offline If you felt that appropriate.

it's margaret said...

My first vocations event was the weekend they gave one a thumbs up or down... it was stressful... to the nth degree... and when the liturgy did not offer me a place of refuge I thought I would come unglued.

Hang in there --discernment and beyond is like swimming nude in a fish bowl.

You continue in my prayers, dear Son.

it's margaret said...

That was, dear SonG !!!!

Song in my Heart said...


I'm meeting with my vicar again later this week and will figure out where to go from there. In this deanery we have to go to an Area Vocations Somethingorother before the DDO. Thank you for your prayers, and your kind offer of talking offline. I do have lots of support at the moment but will bear that in mind if I find myself stuck.


That sounds horribly stressful! Here there's at least a year or so of meeting with a Diocesan Director of Ordinands before being allowed to go on a selection conference which includes a Bishops Advisory Panel. There'll be plenty of time to get nervous about that.

Swimming nude in a fish bowl about sums it up. I didn't even realise how lacking I found the liturgy until I got to the church where I went to Mass... there's a definite sense of "They can't even get _that_ right and they're going to decide whether I should be ordained?" But this isn't going to go away.

Thank you, as ever, for your support and prayers.