Today is Friday. And tomorrow is the Diocesan Panel. Am I nervous? I’m not really sure. Earlier this week, I was feeling very calm. I did wonder if it was a sort of being-in-the-eye-of-the-storm feeling. I wasn’t sure if it was an answer to prayer, or just a failure on the part of my brain to appreciate the seriousness of it all. The jury’s still out 🙂
But tomorrow is the panel. What do I know about the Diocesan Panel? I know it’s important but isn’t the Bishops’ Advisory Panel (which is a later hurdle…). I know that I have to do a presentation on something for five minutes. I know that I’ve decided to do a presentation on Spiritual Disciplines, which won’t be a surprise for those of your who know me, or even for those who’ve been reading this blog for a while. I know that this presentation is followed by a discussion which I will ‘facilitate’ for a further ten minutes. I know that my group to whom I am presenting and with whom I am discussing are five in total, to be observed by (I believe) three others. I know my presentation and my facilitation and my participation in the discussion of others will all be observed. I know that there are three individual interviews covering aspects of the criteria for ordination.
I know that there are a number of people praying for me, and that is certainly a reassurance. I know that I am praying for the others who are going through this with me (and would ask those who are praying for me to do likewise). I am also praying for myself.
I know that this will not be a breeze, but that I am not in it all by myself. I know that God has good plans for me, whatever shape they may take.
I know that others share my view that ministry through ordination would be a good step for me to take, and that many people feel that I would be a ‘good fit’ for this type of role. Yet I also know that this doesn’t mean that the panel will necessarily agree. I know God has a range of responses available; broadly – yes, no, and not now. I know that, whatever the outcome of the panel, there will be an element of both relief and fear.
I know that God has planted in me a love of words and a love of people, and I know that He will share with me the responsibility of growing and stretching these loves. I know that this will involve both challenge and fun. I know it offers both promise and pain. I know that a pastor will carry woes and wounds, as well as joy and hope.
I know that my name is written on my Father’s hands; I know that the Son’s hands were pierced for me; I know that the Spirit offers to work through my hands.
I know that’s a pretty solid foundation to build on.