Thorn in the flesh

Tomorrow is another day.  Not that today was in any way disasterous.  It was quite a good one.  But I’m one of those weird reflective types who finds it necessary to silence all the remaining little nuances that remain unsettled before I can finally rest.  I don’t find being ‘up the front’ very easy…but its always been part of the cross you bear to follow the call of God upon your life and the grace of God has always covered my introversion…in many ways, it seems like a ‘thorn in the flesh’ that keeps me reliant on God. 

The difference for me these days is recognising that instead of fighting it.  I don’t need to be anyone else rather than me.  I don’t have to lead out of any other place rather than the work God is doing in me. Thats the energising bit.  For the times when I’m less than what I can be, the hope simply has to be that glory shines through the simple clay of my own life.

Its back to work proper this week after a bit of a change of regime which was the half-term holiday.  Some lovely opportunities just to enjoy zero responsibility and to enjoy my family.  And its just as good to have the feeling of looking forward to getting stuck in at work again when its all over.  It is a blessing to be contributing something helpful, but even with that, comes the need for wisdom in the complexity of any leadership task.  God grant it.

The reality is that whether you’re leading 4 people or many more, our reliance on God will be the difference between messing it up and getting it anywhere near right and know that whatever happens, it is His church…all I need to do is get out of the way and let it live its own life.

I know the myriad complexities of my own heart and mind as you do yours, but in Christ we find our north, south, east and west.  There is nothing better than knowing the hand of God upon your life and entrusting all that you are and have to him.  The Way of Jesus is a sure yet a challenging path but its the only one for me and I’ll walk it no matter what.

Who am I?

I find myself in the rather obscure enigmatic world of ecclesiastical title searching in lots of ways these days.  Hang ups about pinning down whether I’m ordained or not, qualified to ‘lead communion’ or not, and various other discussions which make me smile.  ‘In house’, of course, this stuff matters to some people in order to keep the ecclesiastical ying and yang in perfect balance. 

But lets get perspective.  It makes little difference to people ‘out there.’  People have no interest in whether I’m a vicar, a presbyter, a deacon, a priest, a ‘layman’ or any other such thing.  We fool ourselves into thinking the opposite is true sometimes.  They do care if you can inspire them, lead them, befriend them etc

I am willing to be all things to all men. So often our point of reference as a church is exactly that…church.  But our key point of reference should always be mission that comes out of our life in Christ.  If our Christology shapes our missiology and those then inform our ecclesiology, we are in a much healthier place.  The other way around, its just trumping through bogs which are irrelevant detours in the wider scheme of things.

Who am I?

I’m an ordained and covenanted priest in the priesthood of all believers which is the laos (the whole ‘lay’ people) of God;  a deacon and servant of the church and the poor; I’m a minister of the Word and of the Sacrament which is the Lord Jesus himself; I’m ‘padre’ to many spiritual children that I’ve had the privilege of fathering and to those still waiting to be born; I am Captain-in-Permanant-Exile to many others; I’m an elder exercising leadership and oversight of some of God’s people; I’m an apostle pushing out the people of God into new places; I’m a pastor to those who need it; I’m an evangelist and disciplemaker, a teacher of faith; I’m the uncomfortable prophet; I’m the introverted reflective theologian and the extroverted preacher; I’m a brother and comrade to my fellow missioners; add ‘ragamuffin’ into the bargain.

I wear uniforms and collars and t-shirts and kilts and jeans and suits and chinos and crosses and eppaulettes and hats and caps and coats and hoodies and….anything which will give Jesus a hearing.

Good old Myers-Briggs: I’m an INFP just out here in my lonely 1% of the world population just doing my healer-idealist thing on the edge of the universe, orbitting the giant hairball just passionate about seeing people grow, seeing the Kingdom grow and trying to embrace and invite as many as I can.

…but you can call me Andrew…most people do.