Today we view the new manse. The project is just about complete as Radhika and Adrian prepare to move in.
Moving is an occupational hazard for ministers. During our married life Laurel and I have moved, on average, every four years. It’s a real chore. I must admit the presence of a cardboard carton or the site of a furniture removal van causes me to wince!
But despite its challenges, the requirement for clergy to move highlights the nature of the ministry we are called to. Here there is a strong sense we are “nomads”.
And, in a broader sense, we are all wanderers or wayfarers. This is because our faith is all about travelling obediently and passionately in the footsteps of Jesus. This may not mean we actually move house on a regular basis. But it does mean we move on in the way we understand things and in the way we exercise our commitment as disciples of our Lord.
This has involved me overcoming deep seated stereotypes concerning the role and contribution of women. For, yes, there was a time in my youth when I considered the ordination of women to be a rather odd, questionable thing to do. Now I cringe at the thought, especially since I am married to a wonderfully gifted ordained minister of the word!
We all need to “move on” in our faith as we are nurtured by God’s word and as our eyes are opened anew by God’s spirit.
This is what Christian life is all about.
But the thought of having to “move on” can be an unsettling one. Many of us would, no doubt, bid for a faith that emphasises stability and certainty. But this is not how we are to understand Jesus.
In Jesus, God constantly calls us on to new understandings. God constantly challenges us to new ways of seeing. God constantly calls us to new ways of doing. Our faith must never become stagnant or stale.
The generous sharing of church resources, an active engagement with neighbours no matter how different they may be, warm relationships with people of other faiths together with the nurturing of community that is truly respectful of all ages, are issues we must face today.
Are you willing to “move on”?
For, when it all boils down, as Christians, we are people who are constantly on the move!