Somewhere in today there was a gentle funeral service, some wonderful home Communion visits, some funeral prep which left me positive and blessed, some pastoral encounters and an evening spent with a great bunch of people as we studied and formed our individual theological positions and found ourselves united in it.
I was once told that life is like a giant slinging tile puzzle, you can't lift the tiles to set the order - the classic 'fifteen tile game' being something I think we all know - so you have to move in sometimes unexpected directions to get them into the right place; and when you do you have numbers or letters in the right sequence or a picture or whatever. This is what the Christian life is like with the objective being to see Jesus at the end of the game!
During the course of the day I was told on a few occasions that I am, "Not like 'normal vicars'!" As thankful as I am for being able to maintain my personal brand of weirdness, I have to say that I don't think I've met a normal cleric yet. So today I challenge one of those who had uttered the comment as to what they meant. At first they were a bit shocked and quickly told me that they meant it as a compliment. I responded by telling them that that's what I'd taken it as and was merely wondering what is was that made me 'abnormal'. "Not abnormal. Different!" Was the response; and before I could ask how, they told me.
At the end of the encounter I found myself feeling blessed by who I am for in the words used to describe me were little squares on another person's puzzle and they were moving to show the face of Jesus becuase of their encounters with me. And through their encounters with me they were encountering Jesus, the Christ.
This is all I life for, to make Christ known and to make for a passionate, engaged and redeemed image of the invisible God in every person I meet.
Please God, don't ever let me be whatever a normal cleric looks like, let be look and smell and be like Jesus in the lives of those I encounter. May I be a pleasing aroma, a child who basks in the love of the Father at whose feet he plays, a man of the word and one who will always come alongside.
Lord for the day past I thank You.
For the noise and the mayhem that is me, I ask that you use what You can and recycle what distracts.
For those for whom I have been a blessing - thank You.
For those I have failed to help as I should - bless them and give me another opportunity.
For those who frustrate me and cause me to stumble by my wrong responses: bless them and change me.
As the song has it:
Lord You have my heart and I will search for yours: Jesus, take my life and lead me on.
Lord You have my heart and I will search for yours: Let me be to You a sacrifice.