There's a lot too much going on on far too many fronts this week.
GCSEs are over for older son, but A levels grind on for my daughter, who is not the boldest exam candidate ever.
The parish is cranking itself up for the Ordination/First Eucharist with emotions at both ends of the spectrum from joy to despair. Some people will see my priesting as the end of the church they have loved, and that has to be acknowledged and lamented.
Meanwhile, my vicar's well intentioned attempt to give me a gentle week before ordination retreat begins has been thwarted by a sudden influx of funerals and an overwhelming glut of meetings. Of these, the most depressing was the Clergy Chapter day on Monday. We're supposed to be evolving a meaningful mission strategy for the deanery, which will involve redeployment of some clergy and almost certainly some church closures...we've 24 Anglican churches within the borough, which even an ardent devotee of the parish system can see might be rather alot. The atmosphere was really quite good,- there's definitely a sense of friendly collegiality about the place, which is hugely encouraging,- but this can't disguise the fact that some clergy feel depressed, distressed and undermined by even the most creative of suggestions. Oh dear...
Probably the best bit of the week was last Sunday's training day, when we met our new Officer for Ministry/DDO who looks to be a thoroughly Good Thing. He's written a book which might have made all the difference to my first year in ministry, if only he'd published it sooner! His induction on Monday evening was one of those occasions when you actually feel glad to be Anglican, and particularly Anglican in this diocese...great worship, and friendly bun fight afterwards.
Meanwhile, the wonderful man who has shepherded us through our diaconal year preached a cracking sermon for us curates on Sunday. He quoted Herbert McCabe
"Jesus was the first human being who had no fear of love at all, the first to have no fear of being human" and went on to say
"Our God took flesh and became a human being..not any human being; he is the human being. The man who stood before Pialte, the man nailed to the cross, is what humanity really looks like."
"Suffering is inevitable, and I think we have to be clearer that is part of the Christian vocaction.To live as Christ lived is to invite suffering...Less of the makeover...more of a humanity that hurts."
I guess that's what I need to hang onto this week. Plain sailing isn't part of the deal. Hanging on might just be...
No idea if I'll manage another blog before the retreat starts on Wednesday....but in 7 days time it will have happened, please God.
I think I just want time to be with Him now, really.