to take your congregation back to their roots aren't always apparent in parish life, even when you suspect it might be a Very Good Thing for all concerned.
And, if I'm honest, I'm so wary of appearing to adopt a Father (Mother?) knows best approach that I don't engage in half the teaching I should, preferring to adopt the role of an ever-optimistic bouncy dog (yes, I do have a model in mind) bounding through the undergrowth, sometimes a little ahead of my congregation, sometimes off at a tangent, but always trying to share the excitement of discovery along the way.
Most of the time this works perfectly happily, but every now and then it can lead to a feeling that you've rather missed an opportunity.
For example, today I had to tell the congregation that, in obedience to the Archbishops' recommendations, we have for the moment suspended our use of the common cup at the Eucharist.
My colleague, who has a medical background, filled them in on the science behind this and I gave them a VERY brief theological reassurance that the fulness of the Sacrament was present in either bread or wine...
That, I thought, should do it.
Except that at the door afterwards it became very clear that while half the congregation hadn't registered the announcement at all (and were still wondering how we'd managed to forget to bring round the chalice) the other half had been completely baffled by pretty much everything I'd said.
So..is this the time to unroll my theology of Eucharist, while trying not to scare those whose views are radically different?
Of my two parishes, one is a classically middle-of-the-road village church, where any attempt to voice ANY sort of explicit theology would be seen as the height of bad manners...The other was presented to me as "on the kind of liberal catholic spectrum" - and certainly the Sacrament is reserved (could I have gone there otherwise? almost certainly not), vestments are worn and as for the most part those aspects of catholic faith and practice I've suggested have been well received.
But now I'm wondering if anyone has any idea WHY?
And if, as I suspect, the answer to that is "No" - then what might happen as I try to suggest some possibilities...?
Oh dear, I do wish I were rather less of a wimp.
Pleasing all the people is never going to be possible but I'm always appalled at the way the sacrament of unity can cause so much division...and I hate the thought of being the one who highlights those divisions in this place.
But there's never going to be a better time, is there?
If we try and explore our theology of Eucharist now, then we can work on our practice in the weeks before the Herring of Christ's priesting next year.
That sounds OK...but makes me feel very nervous.
Really, I'm quite hopeless.