Off to church in a few minutes, taking the freshly washed vestry towels, loo rolls and loos cleaner for the minister's loo! One of the more 'odd' tasks of pastoral ministry.
Today is the Sunday School 'end of year celebration' which they lead, so I get off lightly, with just a reading to do and maybe the odd word to say at some point. After the evening service that's it - for three months. Very odd indeedy.
This weekend is also Petertide, when Catholics, Anglicans and Methodists do their ordinations - a very different approach from baptistic and congregational traditions. This morning those ordained yesterday will be conducting their first services, presiding at their first Eucharists and will be glowing with that glow of of new beginnings. I also envy them the inevitable naivety that goes with that stage of ministry, but only almost. I don't think I am jaded or cynical about ministry, but I am far more realisitic and chastened in my expectations of others and of myself.
God of Peter, the wobbly rock on which you chose to build your church (contra Christ's own parable, it sometimes seems) bless the frail and eager people who are newly ordained to his service.
May they discover unexpected joy and profound fulfilment
May the inevitable disappointments, struggles and even failures, be transformed by your grace
Strengthen them, uphold them, and above all, embrace them in your love
God of Abram, call us
God of Ruth, uproot and resettle us
God of Barnabas, encourage us
God of Paul, transform us
God of James, ground us
God of Christ, bless us