A meditation for Vocations Sunday
I heard the call a long time ago. Not really sure when it began, but I just began to watch, to look out for where I might find him. Once I realised I was doing it, I started to listen hard. My name, Simeon, it means the one who listens. So I would live up to my name. I listened for God, and I asked him about this calling. Was it for me? Why on earth me? What was I to look for? A new prophet or a holy one? And from somewhere the answer came – ‘I am calling you. Look for the Messiah!’
I’ve looked for a long time – I wasn’t always this old – carefully checking and testing. A few have claimed that they were the one. But they weren’t. But just sometimes, there was enough doubt in my mind to leave me confused. This calling has been a challenge. Not everyone likes me saying, ‘no, not them.’ And it’s puzzled me why I should be so interested, or so particular.
But then, today. The child in her arms! I didn’t think it would be a child. But just suddenly, like a thousand lights suddenly being lit, there was the child, the Messiah. That it should be him, that I should see him, I couldn’t help it. I sang. ‘Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation.’
That was a while ago. It changed me. I no longer look and turn back disappointed. Now I see him everywhere. Seeing that child, means I see God at work in all kinds of places. I see him in the poor, scratching together enough to feed their families. I see him in those who arrive in the city having fled a home somewhere else. I see him here at the Temple, in the quiet faithful ones who come each day to pray for someone else. I see him where old enemies make peace, and where families build bridges to one another. I see him where I shouldn’t – in the women who ply their trade on the streets. In the foreigners, who are perplexed by our ways but want to live with us. In the crippled and the widowed, and those who God seems to have abandoned. I see him in all these places and more.
And finally, I think I might understand why my song on that day finished the way it did. Because my call continues, no longer in looking but in seeing. ‘To be a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel.’
First given at Derby Cathedral 17.4.16.