A feeling of arrival with all this training stuff is near!
That sounds bad, but I mean arrival in the sense of a journey. I feel pretty much like I am on a railway track and the train is pulling into a station. Here we alight our joint carriage only to get back on different trains and carriages with different destinations pretty soon.
I am just about to leave for the last training weekend. It’s pretty much a weird feeling. Sometimes the days have dragged. Actually, the days have dragged full stop – it has been hard and rewarding work and yet … 3 years have flown by and I can’t quite believe this is the last weekend and the last time some of us may even see each other.
I want to use this space to publicly thank new friends and colleagues from this course. We have learned from each other. We have argued with each other. We have wondered about each other and yet we have developed a love, care and respect for each other.
That love and respect we have for each other crosses and embraces the normal church boundaries that we see splitting along the Anglican communion at the moment. According to some we should not get on. We do because we have got to know each other.
I thank you all for the things you have taught me, for the things you have allowed us to teach each other and for the way we have grown together. You are, no we are, a pretty good bunch of people!
As I write the above I have been thinking of the Lambeth conference which will be taking our place at Kent university pretty soon. Some bishops are refusing to attend because they disagree with each other. I wonder if they are doing so because dialogue opens them up to seeing they may not be as accurate as they think they are and it opens them to the possibility of having to change their mind on something. Rather than wanting truth, I wonder whether these people are actually more worried about not being right. If so, that is a sad condition to be in.
If there is one thing I can take away from this course, it will be that none of us have the complete truth, the correct interpretation or the right ‘brand’ of christianity. Whether we are evangelicals, liberals, catholics or various mixes of all and none, the truth is we all have an incomplete image of a God who we can never even hope to grasp.
As I move out from Canterbury after this weekend, I pray that we will be able to remember that as we continue our journey.
Please pray for us this weekend as we focus in on the reality of our lives and our callings.