I’m just done packing up my few bits and bobs I’ve had with me here at Cliff College this week, ready to vacate my room before we launch into the last half day. I’m looking forward to being home, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being here again for the last full week of my course.
The lectures have been interesting, stimulating, provoking as normal, and I expect more of that tomorrow. The content all very useful stuff, even if just to have something to critically engage with and disagree…after all, its not the expectation that you agree with everything presented…they let you think for yourself at post graduate level!
That isn’t the biggest thing I’ll take away from this week, though. I will take away the richness of being in fellowship with a beautiful bunch of people. People who know what it is to ask and live the difficult faith and mission questions, who ‘get’ the regular challenges of 21st century ministry regardless of their denominational background. But they are people who simply love God and follow Jesus and the beauty of these people for me was summed up this evening. The college chaplain invited us all up to her home, just up the hill, for coffee, cake and prayer. And there we were…around 20 of us, with the chaplain and her husband, the MA programme leader and his lovely young family, huddled in the living room round the fire talking, enjoying laughs, tears, conversation, more of our stories and talking to Jesus together like its the most natural thing in the world, interspersed with holding the baby looking for something to chew to help her teething whilst her mum prayed across the room. Then, from the naturalness of prayer and conversation, one of the young toddlers started to sing ‘Twinkle, twinkle’ and we all, of course, joined in his song to his wide-eyed amazement and there it was…the amazing, prayerful, mission-focussed, family-focussed blessing of being in Kingdom community and my heart said ‘I was made for this.’
Pioneering in ministry for me isn’t about slick projects and the latest thing: it is about nourishing and celebrating the biggest miracle of all – the mystical and beautiful union of people joined in Christ as rich family and sensing the joy of Christ as he moves among us and as the child leads us into wonder of it all.
O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!
2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained praise,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels,[b]
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen—
Even the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth!