14.3.09

Ministry through Bishop Alan's 'Over the rainbow snow'

God works through people when they are not even aware of it. Isn't it amazing that we might be impacting people's lives in such significant ways through the power of the Holy Spirit and we are not even aware of it.

One day I would like to communicate to all the people who have had an effect on my spiritual journey just how important they have been - to Peter and William and Jill and David and Helen and Mark and Diane and Dee and Pee and Joy and Sara and Clive and Lizzie and Dan, Mat and Nat and the special people at Lee Abbey and countless others I have failed to mention.

Sometimes I nearly do and fears about being considered rather gushing sometimes hold me back. The other day I really had to fight against an overpowering urge to declare aloud - I love you family - as I reflected back from the comfort of a lovely sofa in someone's front room as we all reflected together on Christ's Passion at house group. It's a shame we can't say these things more often but sometimes our Britishness and the Britishness of those around us prevents us.

So here I am, late on a Saturday night still wrestling with myself and those forms for my DDO. I have swung all week between joy and fear and still can't bring myself to say the 'O word'. I don't use that word at all, when explaining it to people, only that i have to fill out some forms so that the church might be able to discern if they can one day employ me in some guise.

I am yet to really commit to ink the things that have shaped me spiritually but it's already written up in my head.

That I will tackle tomorrow.

So I just read through what I'd written already and I have such worries. Does it all sound too idealistic, do I really know what I am talking about? Why am I doing this? Ah - I'm making myself so vulnerable etc.

I then came across Bishop Alan's video of his grand-daughter (correction daughter) (that's me thinking all bishops are of a certain age when they aren't) in the snow and it was wonderful to watch.

I feel just like her, overwhelmed by all the wonder of it and daring to step out in anticipation that whilst it might feel a little strange, it is very beautiful and though I might slip up, there is someone walking with me, watching my every step, not holding onto me quite because they trust that I can do it but ready to catch me as I fall.

So I will try to carry this with me as I move to Friday and the day I go back to the DDO to hand in the forms which underline my commitment to this sense of calling on my life.

Thank you Bishop Alan.

3 comments:

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Thanks so much, Rachel. I posted the video because of a glancing bit of grace — twittering on a train someone reminded me of a bt of Thomas Traherne. Need to say, however, that Anna's Lucy's and my daughter not grand-daughter. 2010 we will no longer have a child at primary school for the firt time in 19 years... time flies when you're having fun.

fibrefairy said...

hi Rachel, glad you're still smiling through those forms! Don't be afraid to utter the O word! If you feel that's where God is leading you then I think it can be really helpful to have other people's reactions to the idea - what are they seeing in you? I think that is part of the discernment process. I was quite different in that I knew that if God was calling me to anything it was ordination. I'd been "employed by the church" before, and this was different, and very persistent over 13/14 yrs (yes I'm a slow learner - or an argumentative one!!)- there is certainly something in my calling which is to ordained ministry as opposed to anything else. (one day I'll bore you with the whole story!) If you feel at all like that then I encourage you to be honest with yourself and with those you speak to. God bless.
(Ps I am in awe of +Alans 19 years of primary school! I will have done 14 or 15yrs by the time mine are all through and that seems enough. Last one starts in September as the first one leaves.)

Rachel said...

Thanks Fibre-fairy

Good advice. My house-group, church, friends and family know this is what I'm feeling called to but they also understand that it all feels so marvelous, that to say it aloud makes my heart beat so fast that they now all laugh and support me in calling it the 'O' word. It's become a bit of a joke.

I am also aware that in many ways it has all happened quite fast. I've only been acknowledging the call for about 4 years or so and things are moving very quickly.

In contrast to yourself and Bishop Alan, my children have only just started primary school, I have two girls and it will only take me another 7 years before they are both at secondary school. Our children could have left home by the time my husband and I are in our late forties. I wonder if there's a pattern emerging here that I always tend to do everything in the shortest amount of time possible.

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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.