Thursday 21 February 2008

L4/15-18 Bearing up, pressing on...

15. Pray for local health and social services
was a doddle, but I don't do as much of it as would be good. I've been to services in my life where pretty much all the prayers are about Us in Church, and Us in Church being better disciples; and I tend to think one way of Us in Church being better disciples would be to shut up about ourselves and our feelings and our progress, and pray about someone else for a change.

16. Arrange to visit someone else’s Church
One of the strange things about being a bishop is that I'm always in someone else’s Church (or chapel or even, sometimes synagogue or mosque). I have a formal role in the C of E churches I visit in Bucks, but in practice I find it’s far more fruitful practically to think of myself as a guest, not the boss. I also find I get more opportunities to worship with different faith groups of all kinds than was the case before. It means experiencing all conceivable types of worship, from radically unstructured to Vatican 1 high mass, from six people at 8 o’clock to a loud and lively thousand. Every expression, of course, has its highlights and lowlights, but I can honestly say I haven’t ever been anywhere without sensing spiritual value in what was going on. I realise what freshness and vitality there is around the place, and looking back I have to confess my own narrowness and parochialism down the years, and a kind of “here we go again” thing in my own mind. One of the perks of this job is to be a guest in churches where other people, operationally, call the shots. One of the great perks of baptism is to be able to go anywhere within one holy Catholic and apostolic Church. I wish I'd explored this dimension of discipleship more years ago.

17. Walk or cycle a route you would normally drive
Done a few walks up to Church and round the village, and we walked to get a new bulb for the reptiles the other day, but the fact is most of my driving is over many miles without a proper public transport equivalent.

18. Water some plants or a green space using the washing-up water
Job Done. Hope the little darlins like (trace elemnt) Spag Bol. Shows how much I know about plants, but Lucy (who knows a lot more) assures me they’ll be OK... Done the Pampas Grass out the back, which seems to like trace element Spag Bol, because it did a cute little rustle in the wind afterwards. Ahh. Bless.

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