Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Reflection - Gavin Cooper

image from google

This homily was given by Gavin Cooper, a final year ordinand, at Evening Prayer on Monday 25th October 2010. (Readings; Ecclesiasticus 39: 1-11, John 17: 1-5

We are now on week three of Michaelmas term, which, for us means that we have been here four weeks. I, for one, am surprised at how quickly the time has gone, already.

How many of us were told before we arrived, or even as we started at seminary how quickly the time would go- I know some of you who have just joined us have heard it, because I have said it to you- and it is true-time flows here.

We work hard in the course of our studies and all of us, whether we are on the BA, BTh, MTh, CTG all share a common occupation- what Fr. Robin would call ‘scribble, scribble, scribble’.

In the NRSV, the reading we heard from Ecclesiasticus is given the simple title- The Activity of the Scribe; and I actually think that it fits rather well our situation here as we daily ‘scribble, scribble, scribble’.

I am not for one minute suggesting that any of us are to be compared with the scribe- but this passage does sum up some of what we are about here.

The Scribe seeks out the wisdom of all the ancients and prophesies; he penetrates the subtleties of parables; he sets his heart to rise early; he gives thanks to the Lord in prayer. These are all things that we are part of in our studies here. Particularly if, like me, you think that setting your heart to rise early is to roll out of bed at 7am and wish you had got up ten minutes earlier to avoid the bell ringing whilst you are madly brushing your teeth.

We are lucky, in that we are given the time here to commit ourselves to study and prayer, and, joking aside- we do get the space to pray

He sets his heart to rise early to seek the Lord who made him, and
to petition the Most High; he opens his mouth in prayer and asks
pardon for his sins.

This evening’s second reading follows on quite nicely from this idea of prayer- for at this point in John’s gospel, we are shown Jesus at his most intimate with his Father- we are a fly on the wall in his own prayer.

His first petition Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify you. Fr. Damian, around this time last year told us that we should not wish our life away, and this evening’s readings do nothing but restate this message, for if we are to follow this example of prayer from Jesus, then we should express to God every now and again that it is His time frame we are working to and that it is His will that is being done (we hope).

Following this morning’s seminar, the inhabitants of the back row of these stalls should be able to speak at length on the danger of stress in our work without repetition, hesitation or deviation. We do, from time to time, get snowed under and our concern can be so much directed towards ‘scribble, scribble, scribble’ that we do have to learn to lean on the prayers of those around us and know that when they are troubled they can lean on our prayers- however, we should always know that in our doings here, it is God’s plan that is being carried out, and that, if we are lucky, we will share the gifts of the scribes

If the great Lord is willing, we will be filled with the spirit of
understanding; we will pour forth words of wisdom of our own and
give thanks to the Lord in prayer.

The Lord will direct our counsel and knowledge, as we meditate on
his mysteries. We will show the wisdom of what we have learned
and will glory in the law of the Lord’s covenant.