Weekly Reflection - 05 March 2021
5 March 2021
This week I have begun to fill out a deacons formation grid. What is this, you may wonder. Well it is a fairly lengthy form which first year curates fill out to reflect and give evidence for their progress during their first year of curacy. It asks for reflection on such things as what theology have you been reading, engagement in worship, pastoral opportunities, and awareness of Canon Law. It’s been very helpful to chart where I’ve seen myself be formed and where I need to get more experience. It’s also been surprising to think that it won’t be long until my first year is over, as well as about the opportunities I’ve had, even during the restrictions of the last year. All things going well I will be ordained priest in June.
In preparation for priesting Canon Leah and I have been reading the Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell’s book ‘On Priesthood’. One of the first things mentioned is that priests never stop being deacons, it is not a steppingstone but a foundation stone. The image Jesus uses of a building with firm foundations is referred to; the house built on the rock rather than the sand. Sometimes we cannot judge our personal foundations or the foundations of others until the storms come. A sobering thought. Having firm foundations doesn’t mean we will always have good times, or we won’t be hurt, but means it is more likely we will endure despite hardships through which we can flourish. Archbishop Stephen gives the reminder that the foundation of ministry is service, and this will keep ministers fixed on the rock that is Christ, the Servant Lord. Priests never stop being deacons and never stop being servants.
By filling out my deacons formations grid I have been reminded of the necessity of staying close to Christ. The past year for all of us (whether we are ordained or not) has tested our foundations. For those who have lost loved ones, for those home-schooling children, for extroverts living alone, for those working for the NHS, the list goes on. It’s been tough going.
This Lent is a time when we can all look again to our spiritual foundations and ask the Spirit to show us any damage and do some repair work. Christ calls us all to be servants in his Kingdom and through prayer, worship, meditation, and fellowship with him and each other, we can be equipped to be vessels for our ministry as part of the priesthood of Christ. This ministry that we share requires us to help build each other up so we can together demonstrate the love of God to a world that has gone through a stormy year.
With prayers and best wishes,