So today I am back at work after a lovely, leisurely week off during which I visited and re-visited many great places in and around Glasgow; I also discovered some were closed for refurbishment, and that googling 'Hunterian' can lead you to the wrong place if you aren't careful. Anyway, from military bands to Nardini's ice-cream, sailing on the Waverly to a 3D IMAX dinosaur docu-drama film, and finally doing the open-top bus tour, it was fun.
Now, as the ubiquitous saying goes, it's old clothes and porridge, aka back to work.
This morning's PAYG was the story of the beheading of John the Baptist, on which I preached just a few weeks back. One of the slants they took was about the challenge of trying to 'do the right thing' when under pressure to 'give people what they want'. Whilst Herod directly contributed to his dilemma, and we may not always be so obviously complicit, it was a good question to ponder at the start of the new season. We have several new initiatives that we have deemed 'the right thing' but not everyone is going to like all of them, maybe any of them, so how do I respond?
Tricky, as by nature I'm a 'people pleaser' but know fine well 'you can't please all of the people'. So my plan of action?
Firstly, I intend to enjoy the new things! They are opportunities to grow in faith and in grace, to meet new people, to unlock hidden talents, to play our part in God's Mission.
Secondly, these are the decisions of the church, not of me, and therefore we are together equally responsible for the changes and their management.
Lastly, I need to do my best to be caring, pastoral, supportive to those who find it difficult, whilst encouraging people to engage with things that are new and maybe challenging.
Back to John the Baptist and Herod
No-one is going to ask me for someone's head on a plate - but I am still challenged to reflect on those areas where, ultimately, I will go with the flow for a quiet life even when I have a sense of disquiet. Maybe sometimes I do well to be disturbed by glimpsing myself in the 'villains' of the stories.
Now then - first job of the new season - go to Coffee Club! How brilliant is that?!