Picture by Adrian Worsfold

I spoke about God being our 'abba-Father' this morning, but I rather like this hymn from a friend's site, in which God is very much the mother of her children too.

Praise to God the world's Creator,
Source of Life and growth and breath,
Cradling in her arms her children,
Holding them from birth to death.
In our bodies, in our living,
Strength and truth and all we do,
God is present, working with us,
Making us creators too.

Praise to God, our saving Wisdom,
Meeting us with love and grace,
Helping us to grow in wholeness,
Giving freedom, love and space.
In our hurting, in our risking,
In the thoughts we dare not name,
God is present, growing with us,
Healing us from pride and shame.

Praise to God, the Spirit in us,
Prompting hidden depths of prayer,
Firing us to long for justice,
Reaching out with tender care.
In our searching, in our loving,
In our struggles to be free,
God is present, living in us,
Pointing us to what shall be.

I led and preached in Derby in the absence of my holidaying vicars. A one-woman band, so-to-speak (with a real band assembled behind me with a couple of electric guitars that transported me back to a certain port in NY.)

Something felt different - thank the Lord! I felt 'at home.' Phew! My previous preaches have had me sweat, lose sleep and swing around emotionally. My previous preaches...emm...that would be the six other ones so far in my life.

I spoke. I was more myself.

I stressed the 'us' at the absolution and the 'us' at the blessing and I am wondering whether I will really have to say 'you' one day at these points in a service, when I really hope to include myself and more obviously capture the reality that it is God who absolves and blesses, not me.

I enjoyed myself, I worshipped, I sang and I also prayed during the intercessions rather than thinking about what I had to do next.  I sensed a listening and a welcoming people, not a people disappointed by the absence of the real-deal vicars for the trainee instead. People were so encouraging.

I had meaningful conversations over coffee afterwards and I thought...'Wow... I think I am really going to enjoy this vocation, this role, this life doing this thing in this capacity...'

I had prayed the night before for calm and peace, for children on the way to church (so early) who would really be okay about the whole thing... and they were. We listened to a Jazz CD driving from Nottingham to Derby which I had bought from a man playing an electric guitar at the ferry port to Staten Island, NY. Hermione sang, 'Go vicar!' as the guitar climbed up the scales, making us all laugh. Franny took her place at the front of the church before everyone else arrived and pretended to give out all the notices with her 'Blah-blah, blah, ble ble ble.... amen and now the children leave for their groups, Amen, amen again' routine. With no Eucharist today, they returned home to administer apple juice in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and you would be forgiven for thinking that this all sounds rather twee and overly cute but this is the way that it was today - quite lovely really.

... and my mum thinks I might not have much time for the girls but I trust it will all be alright, that they will grow up in a different kind of family where daddy does perhaps more cooking than mummy and probably more school runs... but I figure, really, this is all going to be okay.

...so there are two weeks to go until this new thing begins and the decorators have made the walls of the new house, the cleanest walls I will ever have lived within. It is humbling that members of the congregation where I will serve cleaned parts of this new home for me and my family. It is quite overwhelming that this diocese will continue to support my development, feeding me with theology and training, supporting my hopes to continue to read and apply myself academically and it feels like such a privilege to be embarking on this disciple-making, journey-taking, friend-making, singing, thanking, praying, celebrating way of life. Of course, it will also be marked by my entry into the ragged places too where there are few really consoling answers but struggling ones, where some kind of sense will attempt to be made of things that will defy sense-making. But I welcome it now. I say ... let it begin ... perhaps 'ready' is too overly presumptuous a word but it is just the word I have for today... today I feel 'ready'...


Joan of Quark said...

Glad to hear about it all going so well - and I am pretty sure you are allowed to keep saying "us" - I have heard it done lots of times.

Rach said...

Glad about that - thank you.

DDD III said...

Rachel, can you share the tune used?


Rach said...

I will get back to you, DDD once I have found out.

Rach said...

- about the hymn

Adrian John Worsfold said in answer to my query on your behalf (the hymn was his link)

The hymn
I've saved the requested music to MP3 for you - Beethoven F I call it - as played by Clyde McLellan. The link is http://www.facebook.com/l/623e9WBNT6vJzUpKUzX5QOE76zQ/dl.dropbox.com/u/28120070/Hymns/SF%2520137%2520Beethoven%2520F.mp3 but the music in Sing Your Faith is Corvedale by Maurice Bevan. Until now I'd used Abbots Leigh and Calon Lan - they are all 87.87.D so there are lots of choices. You can see my listing here: http://www.facebook.com/l/623e9AiVqzEYpMF7xY6unNddBwA/dl.dropbox.com/u/28120070/pluralist/spiritual/hymnsavailable.html I will end up transcribing Corvedale I should think via MuseScore.


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