Today the Church of England calendar encourages us to commemorate Charles Simeon, Evangelical Divine
(which is, of course, entirely different from "Divine Evangelical")
Since I'm pretty clearly a liberal catholic, you would probably assume that I'd be a tad uncomfortable around Simeon - and certainly those jobs in the Church Times that came with the heading "Simeon's Trustees are looking to appoint...." were never remotely attractive.
But - there is one aspect of the man that I admire hugely (there might well have been many others, of course - I mustn't let my prejudices have things all their own way, even here on my very own blog!).
On the inside of his pulpit at Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge, he had carved
"Sir, we would see Jesus"
What a goal for anyone aspiring to preach!
And for those of us who struggle with a balancing act that teeters between using our gifts and our relationship with the congregation to draw them together and facilitate community, and allowing those same gifts and relationships to become the end and not the means...what a reminder.
That's what we are for as ministers...whether preaching, presiding or pastoring
(Heavens - it must the be evangelical influence - I have just presented 3 "P"s!!) it's so totally not about us...
We are called to be incarnational not because there is anything that we can particularly offer as ourselves in any given situation ("oh, everything will be alright there now that they have someone living in the vicarage again") but because when we commit to our communities, to identifying totally with them, to sharing everything so that we cease to think of "us" and "them", then we can become signposts...
Sir, we would see Jesus.