Session 4. Called from People, Places, or Situations
Reading: Chapter Four in The Stories We Live
Resource: Calling Journal and Bible
God of Love,
You are with us in every transition and change.
As we enter into a new era with excitement and even some anxiety,
we recall your deep compassion, presence, and abounding love.
We thank you for the gifts, talents and skills with which you have blessed us.
We thank you for the experiences that have brought us to this moment.
We thank you for the work of others that gives breadth and depth to our own work.
Be with us as we move forward, rejoicing with you and supporting one another.
We ask this in your Holy Name. Amen.
(Joseph P. Shadle)
Part 1. Introducing Called from People, Places, or Situations
Have you every had a calling from something, someone, or somewhere? A sense that God was calling you from but without a sense of where you might be going to?
To be called from entails moving away, an ending, before a new beginning is clear. Called from captures the times of transition when you may have more clarity about the from than the to. It requires you to trust that moving away is the right path, a calling, even though you do not know the destination.
Read one or more of the following Bible stories that illustrate being called from.
Part 2. Exploring Life Transitions and Calling
Transitions are exciting, but can also be painful and difficult. They are beginnings and they are endings. Transitions begin with an ending, and often a sense of loss and even grief. Then we go through an “in-between” time, a time of searching and adjusting. Eventually we begin to reconstruct our lives and find a new sense of purpose and meaning. God’s callings are all along this pathway.
Watch the video, "Peg's Story," in which Peg recounts her story of her retirement from teaching and how she struggled with identity loss. Find out how she put the pieces back together to find new meaning.
Part 3. Reflecting on Life Transitions and Calling
Take a few moments to reflect on "Peg's Story."
How does Peg’s story present the nature of transitions and their connection to calling? Write your reflections in your Calling Journal.
Now think of one transition in your own life (like a graduation, wedding, birth of the first child, retirement, a divorce, death of a loved one, loss of job, etc.) or in your family’s life (like a transition involving your parents, your children or grandchildren, your spouse, etc.).
Reflect on this life transition using the following questions. Record your answers in your Calling Journal.
Review your responses. What did discover about calling in your life during this time of transition?
Closing Reflection and Prayer
The call from someone, someplace, or something is a strange call. It may not seem to you that the world “vocation” first these experiences. If we step back, we can see that the biblical tradition testifies to God’s presence in each aspect of loss: God understands the pain, listens to the story, forgives our sins and graces us to do the same for others, and regenerates our lives. God is calling us at each step of the journey.
God is continually calling us to new life, from our old ways, from our losses, from what has ended, into new ways, relationships, and beginnings. But in times of transition and grief we may discover something else about God: that our understanding of God, our “God,” has not been helpful. We can be angry at God, blame God, and lament that God does not deliver us from pain and sorrow. But God may be calling us not only from our grief but also from our narrow views of who God is and what God does in our lives. Perhaps God wants us to know that no matter how painful life is, God’s steadfast love endures forever. The biblical tradition is clear that God is “near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit (Ps. 34:18).
(From: The Stories We Live: Finding God's calling All Around Us. Kathleen Cahalan. Eerdmans, 2017.)
In my journeying with you,
may I never lose my sense of direction,
never lose sight of the landmark
towards which I travel.
And should cloud or rain obscure my vision,
may I draw closer to you,
so that my feet may tread
in your footsteps,
your words be my encouragement,
and your love my protection
against the storms that assail me.
Faith and Worship: http://www.faithandworship.com/prayer_journey.htm#ixzz5QbaJK4jX
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