I had the opportunity to attend an ordination service this past Sunday afternoon. For a clergy/church geek like myself those are some of the best events around. The music is always great and the scripture and its accompanying message is typically stirring and compelling. This Sunday was not a disappointment. One of the focus scriptures was Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the Lord’s voice saying, “Whom should I send, and who will go for us?” I said “I’m here; send me.” In the passage before this verse the prophet Isaiah is questioning his own worthiness to perform God’s work. God gives Isaiah assurances and forgiveness and in return Isaiah says, “OK, I am here, send me.”
It seems some things in life never change throughout history. People have always questioned their own worthiness as servants of God. Isaiah believed his association with people who were sinners disqualified him for the task at hand. God apparently had other plans and made this clear to Isaiah. Our scriptures make it sound like God’s communication with Isaiah was rather bold and straight forward. It has been my experience that God’s communication is not always this bold or clear. At times God seems to be rather subtle in nature.
I often wonder if this subtleness is a reflection of God, or is it a reflection of our inability to receive God’s message. There is often an awful lot going on in our lives that serve as distractions and background noise. It can be challenging to find the time and the space necessary to make room for God’s messages. Maybe living in a time that did not provide as many distractions as our lives do gave people like Isaiah an advantage in hearing and responding to God’s call.
Many people have found the settings of our camps, Moon Beach and Pilgrim Center to be helpful in adding clarity to God’s communication. I am not sure exactly what is behind this and it may very well be different for each person, but there are a significant number of folks who have been successful at clarifying their personal calling from God while spending time at our camps. Maybe it is the elements of nature that surround us. Maybe it is the emphasis that we place on unplugging from media while people are on site. Maybe for some reason unknown to me God is simply better able to cut through all of the commotion in our lives when folks are on our sites. Maybe the reason behind this gift is not really that important, maybe what is important is the reality of folks being able to discern their calling while enjoying our sites.
If you are in the process of discerning a call from God I would encourage you to explore how some time at our sites might indeed add clarity to the process, and then boldly proclaim, “Send Me!”
~ Rev. Nathan Athorp