"Jesus, Lord of the calm and of the storm, whatever seas I sail upon, be Thou my helm, my compass, and my port."
Hebridean Altars (The Spirit of an Island Race) by Alistair Maclean - 1937.
I chose the above quote for my Silver Jubilee of Ordination card. Alistair Maclean's little book (Hebridean Altars) is full of short Hebridean prayers and blessings, but I thought this one particularly apt for my own personal situation at the time of my silver jubilee milestone, as well as an unknown future looming. At the time I had been ten happy years in Castlebay, Isle of Barra (more famous now than it was then thanks to 'An Island Parish' programme!), and had been given notice that within six weeks I would be setting sail for St Columba's Cathedral, Oban. I've had recourse to the quote again in the last year as I sailed the Minch once more, this time for my native isle, South Uist.
As island communities we are probably more dependent on the moods of the sea than most - from the fisherman's 'best ever catch of fish' to the nuisance of the cancelled ferry.
In the calm as in the storm, in the storm as in the calm, we are asked to recognise the providential care of Jesus … even although we often imagine him (and happy to leave him maybe) 'in the stern, with his head on a cushion, asleep'.
For the discerning of a vocation to priesthood, the helm, compass and port can only be Jesus - but it takes personal knowledge and skill and not a little common sense and wisdom to read and interpret both the compass and Jesus!
When you have read this, why not search the gospels for incidents in the life of Jesus and his disciples that happen at or by the sea/seashore. Did you not also encounter Jesus there - steering you, guiding you and giving you rest - in other words 'calling you'?
Rev Donald MacKay