Tomorrow at the bottom of England are two special services at the centre of which are women of God whose paths have crossed mine to various extents. In Kent a good friend of mine, Julie, who blogs here, is to be inducted to her new pastorate and in Hampshire the thanksgiving service will be held for the life of the young BMS worker Fay Martin who died in Afghanistan. As it happens, both women were pictured in last week's Baptist Times, and both were met during my time in Leicestershire.
These two women are (were) very different in their experience and expectations of Christian discipleship and service, yet each had heard and responded to God's call on her life. Fay's path crossed mine only for a week, whilst Julie has become a firm friend with whom many coffees and sandwiches were shared in "Mrs B's" cafe where we put the church to rights, if only fleetingly.
This Saturday I will pause for a moment to think of the two gatherings, one full of joy, one a place of bittersweet remembering, and I will give thanks to God for the blessings these two have brought to God's world.
In these moments of pause, when joy and sorrow are juxtaposed, when beginnings and endings sit side by side, I find I glimpse something of the mystery of life in all its fullness.
Thank God for those hear the call, and having heard offer their simple 'yes' to walk in the footsteps of Jesus to Calvary and beyond.