Today was different for me on a number of levels.
A first in the Crem'
A realisation in the study
Time spent in the sun
a church Council meeting that flew
The crematorium was a strange place today. Even though I had an early slot they were already running late and this situation was made worse by the fact that one of those present in the service taking place before me collapsed and had to be extracted; so suddenly we were fifteen minutes late.
Now that's nothing new, crises and overruns are the curse of the excellent staff at Sutton Crematorium, and they cope with it extremely well. But the new thing was for me to finish my part of the service at the halfway mark to permit the members of a fraternal society to say their goodbyes in ritual and song. We didn't claw back any of the overrun time (something I try to do if I can when there are timing issues) and in fact I think we added to the slippage if I'm being honest. But it was an interesting experience regardless.
As a time Lord I know that time is something that can be stretched and manipulated to permit all manner of things to take place without the need to say 'No'. Today I realised that many times this ability to exploit time's malleability is called upon by people imposing their whatever's on me as they cherry pick and vacillate. But today another line has been drawn in the sand and time bending and creating spaces in the time space continuum will be reserved for the most critical situations. This is good news for the man in the remote island in the Pacific who wonders why days where he is are only eighteen hours longs I'm sure!!!
I had the opportunity to spend time with a colleague today, so I took it and we found ourselves sitting in the sun, something I need to be doing at the moment, and praying as God's creation and provision were poured out on us. There were pastoral and theological considerations to be discussed and a host of other stuff besides. And I'm going to be doing it again - the first time for something should often not be the last.
And the church council meeting - everything is stable and solid and pottering through at the moment. No new initiatives, no burning issues - we are in that phone war phase before the annual rounds of annual church meetings kick in - and to be done and dusted by nine o'clock was another first. But I think we need this sometimes to give us a chance instead to chat with each other as we wonder what to do with the time that was left before normal closing time.
The problem with life is that we tend to run along ruts and these ruts prevent us from deviating from what soon becomes the norm and makes life humdrum and stale. But the joy of the new creation that is today is that the day is there for us to rejoice and be glad in it - and although I was, I realise that I have made God's provision stale before the day was even begun.
Like manna, which sustained for the day and was gone at that day's close, being replaced by new stock the next day, the day we have - our daily bread and butter - is there to celebrate God's diversity and devotion to us. But we regularise and ritualistically constrain it to become us running on a treadmill rather than a walk in the sun.
"You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." (Ps 16)
This place of reflection is here for me to dialogue internally and gain insight and perspective. It first appeared in this current form for some of those looking at creating their own journal as part of the their journey to discerning vocation. The Morning prayer is there also for that same purpose: to create the discipline of prayer.