I don’t like change

I don’t like change

 

Each morning I have the same cereal (Shreddies), put on my favourite socks (Father Christmas) and listen to the same music (Bob Marley). Some people might say I am dull and predictable (my wife!), but I know what I like. So the next two months are going to be uncomfortable. 

 

On June 23rd, at 3pm in Leeds Minster I will be ordained a Priest in the Church of England. The Bishop makes a declaration at the beginning of the service, whose lofty expectations make my knees tremble. Among them he says Priests are called to be ‘servants and shepherds’, they are ‘sent’ (we belong in a certain community) and are to work with others to proclaim God’s word and ‘watch for the signs of God’s new creation’. We are to ‘support the weak, defend the poor and intercede for all in need’. Practically, I will be able to preside at Holy Communion. We are signs of God’s Kingdom, mirrors of his love, travellers discovering unexpected joy.

 

One of those joys, and the other change, is our new 3rd Sunday service at All Saints, starting July 15th.The worship questionnaire is now published and available online or at the back of church and points towards a simplified service of Holy Communion at 10am. A surprise has been the enthusiasm for a children’s singing and drama group. The challenge is how to include a new generation of worshippers while drawing on the best of our sacramental traditions.

 

A clue might be in those declarations. My favourite line is ‘watch for the signs of God’s new creation’. I don’t like change, but my recent journeying through change has been to see more of God’s Kingdom, his love and the discovery of unexpected joy. What is our driver through change?

 

Written four years ago, my reflection on Christian calling touches on what it means to be human; “What is our purpose? In the largest sense it is to love and be loved. God is love and the love, mercy and grace shown to us, through Jesus is the well from which all Priestly ministry flows. The Priest points to the one who deserves our everlasting love and worship. As God’s love encompasses our whole humanity, there is no part of ourselves that is hidden or unaffected by this love. The priestly ministry is therefore effected in every part of a person’s being and that of those around them. A priest has heard the call, discerned God’s voice for this particular life of service and like the great crowd of witnesses before, said yes to that voice.”

 

As Bob Marley sang ‘One love’! But before I am accused of being a hippy, he also sang ‘Redemption Song’. Christ’s love is not cheap. As any carer, parent or lover will know, true love involves sacrifice, mutuality, vulnerability, giving and receiving. Reflecting on this last year, there have been many things that have had to ‘die’ and be mourned, but out of this death I have seen more of God’s Kingdom, his love and the discovery of unexpected joy. My encouragement to you is to keep going and watch for signs of God’s new creation. Who knows what unexpected joy may be around the corner?

 

Blessings, Bob