I Heard The Owl Call My Name

October 21, 2002
by Gerry O'Brien

Psalm 11:4 – The Lord is in his holy temple; he has his throne in heaven. He watches people everywhere and knows what they are doing. (GNB)

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your paths. (NKJV)

Many years ago, while I was stationed on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, my job took me to a place called Kingcome Village, a native settlement at the head of Kingcome Inlet. While doing an investigation there, I took a photo of the Anglican Church with a large totem pole beside it, each a symbol of a different religious belief. At that time I didn't realize the significance that photo would play in my life. In the words of today's scripture, "He watches people everywhere and knows what they are doing."

Three years later, I was stationed in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada, and attending the Anglican Church there. The rector brought in a film entitled "I Heard the Owl Call my Name", the story of a young Anglican priest, who, while he was in charge of the parish at Kingcome Village, learned that he had terminal cancer. His bishop, in Vancouver, advised him that he should come to Vancouver, where he could rest under good care until his time had come. The priest had told a chief that he had heard an owl hoot, and that it sounded like his name. The native legend said that if you "heard the owl call your name", it meant that your time was nearing its end. The young priest then told his bishop that he had heard the owl call his name in Kingcome Village, and that it was there that he would stay until he passed on.

After hearing this true story, I reflected on the photo of the church and the totem pole that I had taken some years before. A few weeks later, I gave the photo to the rector, and he had it hung in the church in Swift Current. I don't know if it is still there or not. At that time, although I attended church, I was not yet a Christian. I wonder whether this was the beginning of my coming under conviction. Was it then that the "old me" heard "the owl" call my name? Was the "old me" starting to die and the "new me" being born? Was that the start of what was to come? Was I now being shown that I should "trust in the Lord with all my heart and not depend on my own understanding"?

I am convinced that God convicts each one of us at the appropriate time and place. When we hear our name being called, and we answer the call, God begins to transform our character and remake us.

Prayer: Loving Father, we thank You we have heard You call our name, and the process of our old person dying and our new person being born has begun. Thank You, Father, for Your Holy Spirit, who directs us daily, even when we don't realize what is going on around us. For this life in You, Father, we thank You, in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

About the author:

Gerry O'Brien
Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, Canada

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