Friday, 17 February 2012

A slow burn for re-entry

The ship docks as the sun rises over Progresso in Mexico. It is a quiet ship at that time of the morning, just a few folk on the running track. The air is still, balmy, warm. A lovely time for reflection. One of the aims of this Continuing Ed is to write worship material for the season after Pentecost, so my head is filled with the texts, from Mark and John and, looking forward to the day ahead, the possibilities seem endless in this place where it is possible to be still and quiet, a place where the heat of the morning caresses and cajoles body, mind and spirit into wakefulness - far removed from the harsh Scottish winter left behind for a time. It is easy to imagine that, in such a climate, writing would be easier, creativity would be heightened but the reality is that we settle into whatever environment is our norm. We adapt, become restless and even yearn for the other, for the unknown. Such is our fickleness.
It was good and right and refreshing to be with the Revgals, constructing worship, enjoying fellowship, making connections, renewing friendships,creating networks, but what is life giving and life enhancing is when that experience pervades the routine of everyday back home in the grey dreichness of a Scottish winter as it percolates into springtime, whispering a reminder of newness and life, breathing the warmth of love shared and, preferably at inopportune moments, echoing the tinkling laughter shared with female colleagues who simply "get it". Such moments, such journeys shared, bring energy that enable survival in a harsher climate, a harshness created not just by the weather but by the calling to serve God in male dominated institutions in which the wiles of the Spirit are seldom given free rein for fear of upsetting order and propriety and in which the complementarity of" male and female as God created them" is seldom envisaged as a good thing but as a distraction from the real work of God. It takes a lot of energy to continue to be creative and inspired in such a climate, so, when the opportunity is available, one must enjoy the solidarity and drink deep from the well of affirmation. That time of building up has to be eked out, not rationed, but able to sustain for some time to come. So, as I leave behind my time of study leave and engage in the parish as we hurtle into Lent, I am giving thanks. Giving thanks, above all, for colleagues, male and female, who "get it". Giving thanks, right now for Revgals and Big Events!

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