Thursday, October 13, 2011

Completing the Days

Eze 4:8  See, I am putting cords on you so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have completed the days of your siege.

Today is my birthday.
Which is a useful moment to reflect on my life.

The one enduring theme of my life is a sense of God’s calling. I experienced this as an inner compulsion that binds me to a course of living - like Ezekiel I have lived a life where I sense God saying “ you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have completed the days” .

·         I felt a call to be trained at The Federal Theological Seminary – something I could not shake even when it was unpopular with my closest friends and family; even when it became a very hard place to be; and even when I wanted to resign and do something else.

·         I continue to experience a call to be an ordained minister of word and sacrament. I have had moments of great joy and satisfaction; and I have had times when I have understood Ezekiel’s reference to “the days of your siege “.  But since my ordination in 1984 I have never been able to shake off the cords that God has laid on my life.

·         I have felt an inescapable tug to issues of social justice. There have been moments when this has frightened me, and I would rather have run away from it. It has resulted in moments of great loneliness, accompanied by anger from some members of the congregation, financial boycott from some congregations, and the occasional encounter with the security police. But this internal spiritual compulsion has not allowed me to back off, and continues to ask me to challenge injustice as I encounter it.  

·         I have been bound to training student ministers. This has ranged from training student ministers in seminary, to those who have completed their seminary and are placed in local congregations.  Right now I am at the Methodist Seminary in Pietermaritzburg. As this year has passed I have become more and more entangled with this place. It has become a call that ties me in every possible way – in my time, my emotions, my passion and my prayers,    

·         I am inescapably tied to my marriage with Jenny. We were married in 1982, and we have been through “trials and tribulations” and through “joys and celebrations”.  (Truth be told I know that there have been moments when Jenny has wanted to kill me – and there have been moments when I have allowed myself to forget her kindness and generosity).  I continue to be grateful for my marriage and still hear this inescapable tug that says to me “you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have completed” .

As I look back I see the presence of God in all of this. I would not have wished for a different life and am grateful for everything that has happened. I celebrate the passing of the years – and look forward to a new year of being led into the unknown by this inner spiritual compulsion.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful and honest reflection. I love that passage - I see where it applies to your life, but I can also see how it applies to mine, so thanks for pointing it out to me. By the way, Tom and I were married in 1982, too!! Oh, and Happy Birthday!!

Anonymous said...

I thought of you on your birthday.

My wish for you is that you will experience a greater measure of God's peace, His joy and His presence in your life.

With love

From Germany

Jen Tyler said...

This is beautifully written, Pete, and only makes me miss you more. Thanks for your words - and for the reminder of what a blessing it is to have you in my life.