Meditation 1: You Called Me…

Meditation 1: You Called Me…

The Rev’d Dr Cathy Thomson

Biographical Born in Scotland in 1955, Cathy became a secondary English teacher in 1976.  She tested a call to priesthood after she and her husband Ian and two sons, Mark and Greig, migrated to South Australia in 1988.  Cathy was made a deacon in the Anglican Church of Australia in 1993, and was priested in 1995.  She has worked as a chaplain and educator at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, and has sat on various councils and committees of the Anglican Church and ecumenical movement.  .  .  Cathy was awarded a doctorate in systematic theology from Flinders University in 2001.  She is currently Rector of Christ Church Anglican Church St Lucia, and lectures in systematic theology at St Francis’ Theological College. 
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Suggested Music “Deep Peace”  (Swoon Collection III)
Bible reading

A Feminist Reconstruction of

1 Kings 19:11-13

 

11‘Go out and stand on the mountain, for ‘I Am’ is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces but ‘I Am’ was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but ‘I Am’ was not in the earthquake; 12and after the earthquake a fire, but ‘I Am’ was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. 13When the prophet heard it, she wrapped her face in her mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice that said, ‘What are you doing here Eliana? *

*Eliana is a feminine variant of the Hebrew name “Elijah.”  Both names mean “My God is Yahweh (I Am).”

Exercise for relaxation and focus. Breathing exercise:Pay attention to your breathing in and your breathing out; your breathing in and your breathing out. Don’t try to control your breathing. 

Let it have its own life. 

Just be aware of it: ebbing and flowing; in and out. 

Be conscious of what your breath and breathing are doing….. (10 mins)

 

This breath in and out is God’s gift of life to us;

It is God’s life living in us;

it is the breath of God’s Spirit breathing life into us;

breathing with us and in us;

Concentrate on the awareness that God’s breath of life is our breath of life;

Remain with that idea for a few moments…Personal storyWe were a motley group of lay people, gathered because we had completed our first year as small group leaders at St Oswald’s Parish Church, Kings Park, Glasgow. Peter, our Parish Priest suggested we ask God to show us a good direction for our second year.  This meant spending time listening to God, sitting silently as a group.  Most of us had never listened to God in our lives before.  It probably hadn’t occurred to us that God was for listening to in this direct kind of way.   I closed my eyes like the others, and asked God to guide us, not really knowing what to expect.  After a little while the words that were formed in my consciousness were “I want you to be a priest…”   I dismissed that as a sort of fanciful nonsense that had somehow slipped into my mind unawares.  Women weren’t priests.  I’d never heard of any.  And how could someone like me only recently confirmed be anything like a priest by any stretch of the imagination?  I decided to give God a second “go.”  After all, it was his voice I was trying to discern, not this sort of foolishness.  The words formed again, not audibly but unmistakably, in me, but somehow not of/from me.   “I want you to be a priest.”  I felt compelled and irritated at the same tome.  I’m pretty task focused, and this wasn’t part of the plan for my first attempt at listening to God.  And what would I tell the others when we finished?  I felt the only practical way to dispel this fixation/ temptation/ “pridefulness” / (whatever it was) was to appeal to God.  “God, if you want me to pay any attention to what I think I’m hearing, someone else in this group tonight will have to confirm this somehow.”   That’d fix it…  Maxwell (my co-leader) was the first to speak.  “This is really strange,” he said.  “It doesn’t have anything to do with small groups or direction for next year.  The idea that seemed to come to me was that in the Episcopal Church (of Scotland) we need to be open to the ministry of women.  I’ve never thought about it before, but I felt God was saying to me that we should even have women priests…”   Silence5 minutesGuided reflection(1)     How comfortable were you with the telling of the Elijah story in feminine rather than masculine terms? Try to be aware of how it made you feel.(2)   Have you ever experienced God in a “still, small voice” or “sound of sheer silence?” …or is your experience of God’s presence different?(3)   Have you ever felt that something was formed in you that was not of/from you?(4)   Has God given you the gift of a sense of vocation (not necessarily for ordination).

(5)   Are you able to gather up into thankfulness anything you have heard, thought or experienced tonight?MusicRepeat: “Deep Peace…”

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