OK there are around three hours of October left, but I reckon I can legitimately turn my blog back to blue!
A lot of things recently are pointing to something I have not yet quite worked out, but I have a sense, a hint, that maybe in it God is speaking.
At the Baptist Assembly, we had a series of three 'Bible studies' (sermons by any other name) based on the first half of Luke 4. This interested me a lot as, for the next lectionary year, the gospel is Luke. Recently I read something that pointed out how Luke/Acts is framed by the context of the Roman Empire (Luke 2... Emperor Augustus/Quirinius; Acts 28... Paul in Rome) that intrigues me and offers something about context. At the Baptist Assembly the first study/sermon cnetred on the theme of Jubilee which is short through Luke/Acts. The speaker (somewhat cynically) compared Biblical Jubiliee with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee... I got his point, up to a point, it was too simplistic but yes, what does Biblical jubilee look like.
One of the other speakers alluded to his own jubilee - he turns 50 this year, as do I, as do lots of other readers of this stuff. That made me think too. How do I live my jubilee in a biblically jubilee fashion... Good question.
Next year is a 'zero' for our church as we reach the giddy age of 130 (mere children compared with Dibley, but even so, a good age). I have some ideas of fun ways of marking that, but hmm, yes, a jubilee-filled anniversary; I like that idea. And it's challenging.
Back in May I undertook to preach a series on Mission early next year, and as I looked at the lectionary, woo hoo Luke 4 comes early and offers a helpful leaping off point for such a series. And the diamond as a jewel with many facets is a helpful metaphor for aspects of mission.
Next summer will be my sabbatical - a concept linked to jubilee - and as part of that I will be spending some time thinking about aspects of how to continue to serve God via the Gathering Place. Stuff about mission and jubilee and so on...
I feel quite excited and re-energised to continue what I am called to.
Not got a clue what it will all look like but, hmmm, maybe God is speaking...
No secret that I have a "big birthday" looming and that I plan to celebrate it with great gusto.
When I had my 40th, I asked that, instead of gifts for me, people made donations to charities of their choice. And on the whole they did. I was really touched at the range of projects supported in celebration of my big 4-0.
This morning I was buying Christmas cards online from a number of charities close to my heart, and I stumbled across the 'thing' I want for my birthday:
For £120 it is possible to buy reconstructive surgery for someone affected by leprosy. Until I had reconstructive surgery myself, I had no idea how significant it is - in my case it is, outwardly, largely cosmetic, though it does help keep my back straight and avoid lop-sided stresses. But more than the appearance is what it does for the person, restoring confidence, giving hope and possibilities.
I will be spending money on partying with various groups of friends in various ways, but I will be saving some pennies to buy this gift of hope for someone else. I kind of hope some of my friends might find it an appealing idea too... (not that they should give £120 each but could maybe club together)