Tuesday, 3 July 2012

St Thomas - no doubt

I don't know why, but I woke up early today thinking about next Sunday's sermon, so I got up and started writing in my pyjamas, took a break after an hour for breakfast, and then completed the first draft by elevenses. Only then did I get around to saying Morning Prayer in honour of St Thomas the Apostle - his day it is. I now have the rest of the week to mull over what I've written and edit it into final form. Come to think of it, that's what I often do at home early in the week, since I retired. When I was an incumbent, it was rare for me to get down to writing a sermon until Friday or Saturday, distracted earlier by the worries of the week. It's a real enjoyment to do a piece of creative work without pressure, well before having to deliver it. I'm not averse to re-working old material if its content still fires me up, though I can still take a lot of time re-editing and re-phrasing thoughts. It's really nice to have lots of time and space to reflect, and ponder the Word, starting from a blank page in a completely new place.

Next Sunday's Gospel contains an account of the itinerant preacher's lifestyle adopted by Jesus and his disciples. I fell to recalling the seven years I spent travelling Wales preaching and teaching in parishes with U.S.P.G. Travel was demanding, and on times I missed being rooted in one community. It was also a time of great satisfaction, however, finding my voice and my confidence as a missionary priest. It's sad to think that there's no longer a team of Area Secretaries doing that kind of work for the larger church. It's sad for the congregations that once welcomed an occasional different preacher, sad that the clergy can no longer get that diverse kind of spiritual formation during their life in ministry. In a way, I have now returned to that kind of service as a locum pastor, with similar freedom and challenges to relish.

I remembered to take my camera with me when I went into town this afternoon, so there's another batch of photos added to my Picasa website. Opposite are a few photo thumbnails, and clicking on them will give easy access to them - I hope.

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