Sermon #24 (3rd September 2017 at Essex Church / Kensington Unitarians)
Each new month brings a new theme to explore in our services here at Essex Church and the topic we’re going to be looking at in September is ‘Mission and Purpose’. Over the next few weeks Sarah will be helping us to consider our collective purpose, looking at some inspiring stories of Unitarian missionaries who came before us, asking what we can learn from them, and what we are called to do together as a community. We’ll be looking at what our mission might be and how best we can address the pressing issues of our time.
Today I’m going to get us started by considering our mission and purpose as individuals. Our ‘calling’, or ‘vocation’, if you like. Some of us might be at ease with these concepts, and applying them to ourselves, while others might find them a bit BIG and intimidating. Be not afraid! The message of today’s service, in a nutshell, is that we all have a calling, one way or another, a unique opportunity to use our gifts for good in the world. I’m not talking about vocation in the sense of being called to the priesthood or ‘Holy Orders’ – at least, not uniquely, though maybe there is someone in the room (or listening to the podcast at home) for whom that is their ultimate vocation – but perhaps there’s a way of seeing things in which you could say we are all ultimately ordained to a life which is unique, unrepeatable, and shot through with the holy (or at least with endless opportunities to sense a sacred dimension, if only we are willing and able to make ourselves vulnerable, and open ourselves up to it). Our calling, whatever it is, might not be especially prestigious or dramatic. We might not have been summoned by a voice from the clouds, a sudden thunderbolt, or a burning bush to get our attention. But nonetheless, every single one of us has a sacred purpose in life, I reckon. And there’s something to be said for taking the time to reflect on what that might be, and for making that a conscious focus, one which shapes the course of our everyday lives.