Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?! I can’t believe I’m already half-way through the 5th week of an 8 week teaching term. More than that, we’re into the 7th week of the 10 week College term! And what a time it’s been so far. I’ve written elsewhere about the busy-ness of it all, and about the quite challenging feelings that have been brought up at times. So for now I want to concentrate on the amazingness of it all:
– I regularly walk to Westminster College, where I have Hebrew and New Testament Studies, through St John’s College. I have not yet, and I hope I never will, stopped being amazed by the immense privelege of walking through that place, over its Bridge of Sighs. Before me, wherever I go, not just through St John’s, walk some of the greatest minds in the history of humanity, the giants on whose shoulders we all stand (to plagarise the phrase of one of those greats, Sir Isaac Newton).
– I am amazed by the general high quality of the teaching. “What?” I hear you say, “It’s Cambridge, it’s known as a centre of excellence!” Indeed, it is, but that does not stop an ongoing sense of amazement at how generally good the teaching really is. Sure, some of it is better than other bits, but even those bits that I would generally consider weaker (such as the Ethics teaching, which has not been entirely inspiring) has had moments of genuine engagement and challenge – today’s lecture/class on ‘War & Peace’ (the subject, not the epic novel!) being a clear example. The ability of the staff to make difficult subjects clear, to make what we thought a matter of black & white a picture of subtle hues, to show passion for their own worked-out view while offering alternatives and challenging us to make our own minds up, to be academically rigourous and pastorally sensitive, is awe inspiring. I give thanks for their work every day.
– Constantly I am amazed by the richness of the tapestry that is the student body of Cambridge Theological Federation. So often we seek to label ourselves and others, to make clear lines of difference between each other. To claim otherwise is to ignore reality. Yet so often, here at CTF, those labels are removed, so often we are taught (again and again) to see beyond a theological position, a church denomination, an academic preference, and see the person, who is being formed, as we all are here, for some kind of ministry in God’s church.
– At regular, frequent intervals I am amazed to discover yet another reason why I am happy, depsite what I say above about looking beyond labels, to be a Methodist. More and more I am encouraged by the idea that, whatever I may have thought, God was putting me in the right place, at the right time, when calling me to ministry within the Methodist context.
– Finally, for now, I am amazed by the life I am currently offered the opportunity to live. A life where the wee one’s school is just around the corner, where I can walk and cycle everywhere, where Mrs Nomad can cycle to work everyday, where the car leaves its space in the car park just twice a week (once to carry a large instrument, once to carry a large amount of shopping), where reflecting on the past and looking to the future are considered mutual necessities rather than mutually exclusive, where we can eat as a family almost every night, where unexpected encounters can enliven any day.
There is a long way to go yet on this part of the journey. There will, I can be sure, many downs, as well as many ups. Yet, if I were to pray for just one thing, it is that I never lose the feeling of being amazed by this opportunity I have been given!