Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Monday Reflection - Gavin Cooper

This homily was given by Gavin Cooper, a second year ordinand from the Diocese of Peterborough, at Evening Prayer on Monday 26th April 2010. The readings were Deuteronomy 9:1-21 and Ephesians 4:1-16.

Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.

I am sure that there is not one person in this room who has not felt anxiety in the past few weeks, or, indeed, is anxious now. The BTh exams are looming, the BA exams are in sight, the MTh essays are being read and re-read, some of our community face not only the run up to ordination (which in itself is something to be anxious about) but they are also thinking about their new situations, a new house to furnish, a new community to join. It is inevitable in a situation such as ours that we are all under a lot of pressure - and I speak of the staff as well - Fr Robin has his book being published, Fr Andrew is looking ahead to his new appointment - we are a community of anxious people.

I know, only too well, how annoying it can be to be reminded of coming exams and the things that need to be checked off the list before they arrive, and therefore, I apologise for bringing the subject up again.

This is, though, a funny term - and I think that those of us who have been through a Trinity Term at St Stephen’s house will tell you different things about the way in which the community changes throughout the ten weeks we will be here. Daniel reminded us in Chapel Practice, for example, that the dynamic in Evening Prayer will change. We are after all a community that is constantly changing shape - mainly due to the way in which we are being formed and the things we learn about each other as our time here passes. In a few weeks we will be a smaller community and that will take some getting used to - in a way, we will be starting from scratch in terms of being a new group. A cause for anxiety? During this term we will be welcoming more people on interview here and encouraging people into our community? A cause for anxiety?

There is a lot to be anxious about. And whilst we are right to be anxious, we are reminded tonight of our purpose and calling. Paul begs us to live a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called. We are constantly reminded of what we are called to do and in our studies are being directed towards ways in which we can fulfil that calling in the best way we can- however, as Fr Damian said yesterday, this is about walking the walk as well as talking the talk.

In our growth, we are to approach this calling with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing one another in love, but most importantly, we are to use our gifts and talents to build up the body of Christ. That is, after all, God’s will for his whole church.

There is one body and one spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God and Father, by whom we were called to the one hope of our calling. We are given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift and that is where our anxiety and fears are dispelled as we grow in unity and faith to the measure of the full stature of Christ.

So as we approach exams, deadlines, new jobs, ordination and anything else that might be causing us to be anxious, remember that we are all working to the same end - that the body of Christ might be built up; and that it might be built up in love.