Friday, 31 August 2012

15 years ago

Long time no blog.  I've been on holiday for a couple of weeks and it's hard to blog when you are in a temt in a field without mobile signal, let along electricity. 

I've just noticed that today marks the 15th anniversary of Princess Diana's death, one of those 'you must remember where you were when you heard' moments.  I was in Suffolk on a weekend away with friends and had got up very early to my (at the time) only child, the one who took her GCSEs this summer!  Bleary-eyed I switched on Radio 1 (okay, so I've changed) to find sombre classical music playing.  Which threw me somewhat.  In due course the news was given, the kind of news that takes a while to sink in.  The friends we were with hadn't got children 15 years ago and so I had to play with my wee girlie for two or three hours before it was decent to wake the others and tell them. 

The rather bizarre reaction to all that then unfolded, a nation taken by surprise in it's grief.  For some years afterwards I would visit people on the local estates for the church and it wasn't unusual to find a framed picture of Diana on the mantelpiece; whether as a saint or one of the family it was hard to know.   

15 years ago was also my last day of working with students for UCCF.  It was a brilliant time, I learnt so much through working there, much of which I still use today.  It shaped me for time in church ministry as did the great church that I was a part of and went on to serve.  Because 14 years and 364 days ago I started working for a church full-time.  More simply, tomorrow is my 15 year anniversary of being paid to work in a church.  I may be middle aged but I did a lot of other things first, no bad thing in my book. 

Church ministry is a great adventure!  Some amazing highs and some serious lows but rarely a dull moment.  Actually some dull moments would be nice; just occasionally.  It's amazing that we're allowed to do this, we who are fallible, flawed, but forgiven.  I regularly marvel that God uses me to lead a church but then he has previous history on this, in the Old Testament he spoke through a donkey.  Despite the occasional escape fantasy, I really can't think of anything I'd rather do. 

15 years in, what really matters is the next 15 years.  I am grateful that I don't know what lies ahead, but in the words of Paul in Philippians 3, "one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal."     

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