As I reflect upon the coming summer months, I realize that summer has always been a season of questions for me. Each year as a school girl I had the opportunity to make plans that reflected the questions I asked or was allowed to ask about my life. There was uncharted and unprogrammed time to plan. Even if it was a summer job I had to take I at least could ponder the type of job I wanted or was willing to take. There were many things that I hoped would happen that didn’t in those months, many plans I would have liked to make. The point is that I got to ask some important questions that were key to who I was or wanted to be.
I wouldn’t be sharing this now if I didn’t feel that my experience in some measure has been true for all of us, if not all the time, then at least some of it, if not in summer then at least sometime. But summer can be a metaphor for such a time because we likely don’t have to be so preoccupied with survival, at least weather wise. There is sunshine and a bit of a holiday mood, space really for moving outside of the box of our usual preoccupations and for bringing on board something new and exciting, and time for reflection. Such a season is essential in our lives, and is similar to the day of rest we try to have each week. We step outside our routines and reflect upon the deeper issues of faith, vocation, purpose, and our relationship with our creator and our saviour. We can open our hearts and minds more widely to hear His voice, and realize that the really important questions are the ones He asks us, for, whether or not we listen, they are the only real questions that a Christian has to answer.
For me, I find those questions embodied in a lovely song we often sing at our church. This song means all the more to me because I spent two very significant summers on or near the island of Iona, in Scotland, the home of the Iona community, who copyrighted the new arrangement to the song. The lilting but haunting Scottish traditional tune evokes deep memories of the questions I was asking those summers, and the choices I sought to make for my life. It was not an easy time, but I am grateful for all that I learned. My prayer for all of us this coming “summer” is that we would each be open to the essential questions God is asking us about our lives, and that we would have the courage to answer them.
Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown? Will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?
Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?
Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean and do such as this unseen,
and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?
Will you love the "you" you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you've found to reshape the world around,
through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?
Lord your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In Your company I'll go where Your love and footsteps show.
Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.
Text: John L. Bell b.1949; Tune: Scottish traditional: Kelvingrove ;
Graham Maule.© 1987, Wild Goose Resource Group, Iona Community, GIA Publications, Inc.