Apologies for the break in transmission, but there has been more going on in my life over the past fortnight than any woman can rightly cope with. Definitely good in more than a few parts but wildly emotional and pretty time consuming too The mix of feelings in that last weekend at St M's put even the most extravagant Southern cocktail to shame...After the long night that was Maundy Thursday came the exhausted emptiness of Good Friday. I repeatedly had to stop myself from thinking "last time" thoughts as the complex blend of words and music that is the Holy Saturday Vigil wound its way around the pillars of the church. The Easter fire was kindled and the Resurrection proclaimed in all the ancient ageless beauty of the Exultet, then celebrated in a church full of children for the Easter Sunday Eucharist. Presiding there was a mixture of utter delight and deep sadness at imminent parting. It was always going to be an emotional experience, but nothing had prepared me for the gut wrenching intensity. Clearly one of the many effects of Ordination is to connect you far more closely with the congregation where you have served for even four short years, than even with the home church that nurtured your vocation through the previous 14. Tears flowed at the Communion rail and at the door...and at the same time I was trying hard to offer joyful Easter blessings and "Good to have you with us" as occasional visitors have every right to expect. I so didn't want to high-jack te day and the excitement of our First Communicants did much to balance my free-fall feelings, though I was completely undone when Junior Church presented me with some fabulous art-work, and 2 Little Fishes appeared with an album of the loveliest photos from the group. More lovely gifts followed in the afternoon, including, wonderfully, a 1st century Palestinian oil-lamp, which nestles delightfully in the hand. Incredible to think that I own something dating from the time of Christ...slightly soot-blackened from long-dead flames...to realise afresh that my ministry at St Mary's and beyond is part of a continuum stretching back to that group clustered around the table at the Last Supper. We come and go, but the light goes on shining. I tried, haltingly, to preach on that at Evensong, then more hugs, more tears, and hugs again and it was done. Church keys left on the vestry table, robes cleared from the cupboard, no longer an assistant curate but very nearly a priest-in--charge. That community has taught me so much, shown me great love and endless encouragement, been so generous with themselves as we have journeyed together.
"For all that has been, thanks.
For all that shall be, yes."