World Student Christian Federation - Asia-Pacific Region (WSCF-AP)
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A Poem

The Calling

by John C. England

John has been a long time friend of WSCF AP. He and his wife, Rita, are still very much involved in SCM Aotearoa, and all of us deeply treasured their camaraderie and unwavering support throughout these years. John has helped WSCF AP as a resource person in the then leadership formation programme, Asian Secretaries Formation (ASFOR) in 1978, and has contributed a very engaging article entitled “Liberating Education” which proves to be as useful as then and as now.

Now the distant paths are beckoning and the wind blows where it will
now the Spirit sends her mystery again
and we must leave and find the headlands
where companions work and sing and hope for justice, peace, that surely come.

So for one the simple schoolroom where the river meets the sea;
one walks with refugees to find their space;
for one the women’s movements to establish equal rights
and for one the work of village self-support;
for one the run-down clinics where disabled reach for life
for some the writing, lobbying, for those hounded, ‘prisoned, starved,
and for one the songs when villagers hold their land;
for one the careful search uniting family members lost
and for some the long campaign to challenge wealth;
for one persistent advocacy for poor workers victimized
and for one the team restoring people’s hope;
.... and some shape old/new wisdom for the struggle and the pain
to rebuild power to shape one’s common life.

It is there that I am going with companions that I know,
for the distant paths are beckoning and the wind blows where it will
now the Spirit sends her mystery again
and we must leave and find the headlands
where companions work and sing and hope for justice, peace, that surely come.

Who has seen the huts and homes returning
where but now was flood, fire, bomb?
who has seen the food-bowls fill and field rows slowly green
so that harvest comes and in the sharing grows?
who has seen the wells re-opened and clear water dance to smiles,
seen the hands together building sanctuaries all can use?
who can see new fellowships that go against the stream
the companies of pilgrims making peace?
.....and who can see the coming time when social good assesses all
and people’s hopes and struggles signpost love?

It is there that I am going with companions that I know,
for the distant paths are beckoning and the wind blows where it will
now the Spirit sends her mystery again
and we must leave and find the headlands
where companions work and sing and hope for justice, peace that surely come.

Let him follow with the others
let her seek the depths and heights
let us each find others dancing at the feast.
Do you know the tears of villagers as they find again their homes,
or families share again a daily meal?
Do you know the streets and doorways where the friends of peace confer, join to struggle for new justice for the poor?
Do you know the distant towns
where companions wait your hands?
and the frontiers where life begins again?
.... and do you know the healing passion that lifelong lovers know
and find within it strength to work and hope?

It is there that I am going with the friend of my delight,
for the distant paths are beckoning and the wind blows where it will
now the Spirit sends her mystery again
and we must leave and find the headlands
where companions work and sing and hope for justice, peace, that surely come.