Today I am remembering my Ordination, July 24th 1988. A long time ago, many promises made and many people to remember. As I walked along Pagham beach, on all the stones, I enjoyed the stubborn plants that were bringing brightness and life to the day. It reminded me of a song by Paul Field, link below, called Stony Ground.
If you have time, please listen to the song. It says so much about the struggle between a “vocation” and the inner growth that must take place if anyone is to measure up to that call.
Becoming a Christian minister was the result of a ten-year process of discovery and preparation. I will remain ever grateful to my tutors and fellow students at Spurgeon’s College, where I learned to wrestle with the Bible’s message and begin the process of forming my inner self. Part of me says I was not worthy of the honour of serving Christ, the Church, and the communities I have lived in. The rest of me is so grateful that God does allow imperfect people to proclaim “Life in all its fullness” (as Jesus put it in John 10 v10).
Some of you may not know what a “minister” does apart from speak in church on Sundays, and with the occasional wedding or funeral to lead.
Ministry is an amazing privilege: I have shared in the most personal and important moments in many people’s lives, often helping most by being there when they needed a friend. Ministry is also a stressful and difficult road. Without God’s help, I would not have lasted more than a few months!
It also involves being a disciple of Jesus, learning from Him as I travelled through my life. Without faith and grace, I would have had nothing to share. Being able to assist others in their exploration of Christianity, and walking alongside to serve with them, has been a greater honour than I deserve.
There are people I have loved, and others I found hard to like. I have learned and received a huge amount from their stories and experiences; and I have laughed and cried with them all.
I wouldn’t change any of it- they have taught me so much.
My journey still goes on, in different ways now, and I remain astonished that God loved me enough to put up with my imperfections and hard heart. Surely, Lord, I have been stony ground- surely You must have found a better man than me. Thank You for softening my stony heart, thank You for allowing the flowers to bloom and show that true life of the Spirit can breathe on anyone, even me.
God seems to specialise in loving obstinate, ordinary, broken, beautiful souls in all shapes and sizes. Perhaps you know what I mean… or will do one day.
Thank God for life, love, and purpose. May Christ be glorified in all the refugee rebels who He calls and rescues- as He has done for me.