The difference between between having a dogcollar and being a good cleric is very much like the difference between Tarzan and George of the Jungle: It's all about the ability to swing from rope to rope without falling to the ground or face-planting a tree!
The interesting thing for me is the number of amazing face-plants one encounters (at all levels) and the lack of embarrassment attached to them! Every now and then I encounter something that leaves me as embarrassed as if I'd walked on them naked, but the object of my discomfort merely (a la Derek Nimmo in 'All Gas And Gaiters') seem oblivious to the situation. The problem is that I have been accused of training people to be inept in the knowledge that I will always jump in before things go pear-shaped. Where I see concern, others see opportunity: and where I see it a little differently, I do understand what they mean and can see their point.
When I lived in the countryside, there was a certain person who would miss the bus on a regular basis. Many of us, if we saw them would offer them a lift into town - which meant a short detour adding about ten minutes to our overall journey. One day one day I happened to be in the local pub and chanced to hear the frequent passenger talking to a friend and as the conversation unfolded I (naughtily eavesdropping) heard the person tell his companion how, by 'missing' the bus, he not only got into town quicker but was warmer, more comfortable, and didn't have to pay the fare!
So I started going the other way, still giving them a lift if it suited me, but no longer being willing to arrive late at my destination or have to drive like a lunatic to try and make up time lost through them; as did the friends I told the story to. Seems to me that I need to see who is standing at the bus stop and act accordingly.
But today the stop has been empty. It's Thursday so it started with Communion (and of course it's Passiontide, an important period in Lent, which meant I pushed the boat out and (unlike Simon Peter didn't get naked but) wore the chasuble we have had returned to us by the church up the road as they're not into that sort of thing. Now, as a card-carrying evangelical, charismatic, fundamentalist (apparently) I think it's cool to keep the feats, wear the tat and even have a thiruble - so it was a fitting start to the day as we displayed our serious intent on marking the passion of the Christ.
A stop and a chat at the 'drop in' before it was off and out to home Communions and a couple of pastoral additions, a home visit to sort something technical and then into a rather delicate and sad funeral visit. But still a light day which left me feeling chilled and effective even though it weighed in at around fifteen hours (becoming conscious of the hours since doing the numbers).
Lines beginning to be drawn and things hitherto unseen, now seen and noted.
Lord, for all the encounters of the day - I thank You.
For the blessings given and received - I am humbled and blessed.
For the roles others have missed today - help me to know that I served you in rectifying thing rather than was taken for a mug. Give me discernment and courage.
And for the passion of the Christ - give me passion to keep it and courage to live it.