Canon Ann Turner is the Diocesan Director of Ordinands for Bradford

Doing the Lord’s work

In St John’s Gospel, Jesus says: ‘My father is still working, and I am also working.’  What is that work?  The Lord’s work today is in keeping with his work in Galilee, Judea and Samaria two thousand years ago.  The Lord is at work bringing life where there is death, healing where there is brokenness, hope where there is despair.  He is working to liberate people from all that diminishes and dehumanises them.  He is working to reconcile those who are at enmity with each other.  He is at work lifting people beyond the blindness and prejudice that leads to discrimination and much worse.

        We need to remind ourselves today more than ever that the Lord is at work, that he returned to the Father precisely to do his work on a scale that was not possible when he walked the hills of Galilee and the streets of Jerusalem.  The Lord looks to all of us to get involved in his work.  The Gospel presents the Lord working with his disciples and he needs disciples today to work with and through, as much as he did in the first century.

        And the epistles tell us that when the Lord returned to his Father the first thing that he did was to distribute gifts to his followers so that they could involve themselves in his work.  We can be sure that he is not sparing with his gifts today.  The Feast of the Ascension is a good opportunity for each of us to ask ourselves how the Lord Jesus might be gifting us, with a view to sharing in his work.

        It is true that the Church is changing, but God is changeless and he still needs us to share in his work both in the Church and in the world.  It is our mission, our commission through our baptism that guided by the Holy Spirit we are to go out into the world and proclaim the Gospel to all nations.   Some of us might be called to be Priests in this context, others Deacons, others Readers and Church Army Officers but there is also the vocation to serve God through as a faithful member of the laity through our vocations in our work and in our families.  It is no less a vocation to be a good parent, teacher, nurse, bus driver, fitness instructor or police officer – we can still witness to Our Lord in our daily lives and make his world a better place for all.

If you want to explore your vocation further, speak first to your incumbent (i.e. parish priest)

A quick summary of the various forms of ministry and vocation in the Church of England