This one was written for the Ely Diocese clergy conference in 2006, so it’s not that new(!). It goes to the tune Woodlands, and is especially appropriate as a final hymn at ordinations, licensings, and on vocations Sunday. The author is Ally Barrett (all her hymns can be found here)
Hope of our calling: hope through courage won;
By those who dared to share all Christ had done.
Saints of today, Christ’s banner now unfurled,
We bring his gospel to a waiting world.
Hope of our calling: hope with strength empowered,
Inspired by all that we have seen and heard;
This call is ours, for we are chosen too,
To live for God in all we say and do.
Hope of our calling: hope with grace outpoured,
From death’s despair the gift of life restored;
Our call to serve, to wash each others’ feet,
To bring Christ’s healing touch to all we meet.
Hope of our calling: hope by faith made bold;
To sow God’s righteousness throughout the world;
Bring peace from conflict, fruitfulness from weeds,
The kingdom’s harvest from a mustard seed.
Hope of our calling: Spirit-filled, unbound,
Old joys remembered and new purpose found,
Our call refreshed by sacrament and word,
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
This was commissioned for the service at York minster in 2014 celebrating 20 years of women’s ordination in the C of E. It is long enough to be an offertory hymn, but can also work as an opening or closing hymn.
The tune is Londonderry Air, and the author is Ally Barrett (all her hymns can be found here)
Glory to God, the mother of creation,
in love you brought the universe to birth,
then gave your life to purchase the salvation
of all the sons and daughters of the earth.
Glory to you, for love that’s shown through history:
the warp and weft that patterns time and space.
By grace you’re known, yet known to be a mystery,
and we can touch eternity in your embrace.
Glory to you for calling us to service,
shepherds and stewards, messengers and priests,
we give ourselves in gratitude and gladness
as guests and hosts at your thanksgiving feast.
Our hearts exult in loving affirmation,
We sing with joy, your greatness we proclaim.
Your praise resounds in every generation,
Our souls with Mary magnify your holy name.
We are united, in Christ’s body dwelling,
one in the Spirit: wind and fire and dove;
one in the grace and hope of every calling,
to lift the ways of earth to heav’n above.
Through all our lives your power is ever flowing,
To show your work of love is underway;
Stir up your gift in us, your grace bestowing,
so we may speak and live your Word afresh today.
SENTENCES FROM SCRIPTURE
I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.
However that may be, let each of you lead the life that the Lord has assigned, to which God called you. This is my rule in all the churches.
1 Cor 7.17
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.
But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 thess 2.13-14
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
1 Peter 2.9
God says, ‘I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations’
So let us worship the Lord who calls us out of darkness and into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2.9
You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.
THREE ACTIONS (suggested by Ally Barrett)
[preparation: place a pile of pebbles centrally, next to a bowl.]
Each person is invited to take a pebble, and as they hold it, to consider that we, too, come in many shapes and sizes. We may feel that our edges are rough, perhaps we are broken in some way, perhaps we feel small and insignificant. But God sees our uniqueness and our potential, and calls us to be living stones, built into something that will reveal his glory.
The leader encourages the congregation to offer to God
our hopes and fears
our gifts and talents
our energy and ambition
our vision and ideas
The leader invites the congregation to use this space to offer themselves to God in the silence of their heart, or by placing their pebble in the bowl.
2. Paper chains
[preparation: make some strips of paper and stick double sided sticky tape to one end. Provide one strip to each person, together with a pen or pencil]
Each person is encouraged to write something on their strip of paper: it may be a decision they are facing about the direction their life is going, it may be an issue about which they need discernment, or perhaps a thanksgiving for a gift or talent, or an offering of that gift in the service of God.
Then the strips of paper are joined into a paper chain – all that we offer, all that we are, and all our brokenness are part of a whole pattern, as well as being unique to us.
[preparation: place an old brick under each chair]
The leader asks each person to pick up their brick and reflect on its colour and shape, its brokenness, uneveness, usefulness and other properties, and to think of themselves in terms of what they have to offer.
Each person then brings their brick forward and the congregation together build a wall or tower or some other appropriate shape.
Finally, here are some links to material on other sites:
A Service of the Word for Vocations Sunday (from Ely Diocese)