Yesterday was Ascension Day. For those of us taking the Cambridge BTh degree it was also the final day of exams. It all made for a wonderful day.
Here at Wesley we started with Morning Worship, rather than our usual Thursday Eucharist, since we had Federation Eucharist to come later in the day, which was a mix of joyous singing and thoughtful prayer using the Methodist Worship Book. Then came the final exam for a number of us. For me, this was Christian Doctrine, which meant finishing with my favourite exam, the one I’d worried least about, the one I knew I could do. As expected, it seemed to go well, and the sense of release afterwards was huge.
I then had my final tutorial of the year. I have really enjoyed my tutorials this year, helped no doubt by having a highly experienced and very effective tutor, and it was wonderful to review the year gone and look forward to the coming summer and year beyond. Then came a short celebration with a small ecumenical group over some lunch, and a free afternoon lounging in the joy of no more exams. I also spent a little time helping a friend with their Life & Service creative project: we are all required to address a question to do with Methodism in a non-formal way and my friend was producing an Altar Cloth (as a Methodist I probably shouldn’t call it that, but I’m not sure what other term to use, so that’s the one I’ll use) with the hand prints of the whole community (or at least those available) on it. I’ve seen the final product and I really like it – in fact, I wish I’d come up with the idea!
Then, in the evening, we had our Federation Ascension Day Eucharist. It was hosted at Westcott, outdoors in their Old Court, and with the Bishop of Ely preaching and presiding. As was appropriate, it was a very High affair, with the Jesus College Choir, incense, bowing, and much ‘tat’ (vestments). Even those not enamoured with such style of worship normally seemed to agree that it felt right to worship in such a way on such an occasion in such a place. We even finished with fireworks (the effect of which was somewhat lessened by it still being bright day light at 7pm!)
Following Community Dinner back at Wesley we had a wonderful Evening Prayer of very different style: an opening hymn, a spoken prayer followed by silent prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, a second hymn and then the Grace. It felt very right, including the fact that the spoken prayer included both thanks for our having finished and intercession for those now faced with the mammoth task of marking our work to very tight Cambridge deadlines. Then the celebrations really started, with drinks in the Senior Tutor’s flat and then time in the pub with some of the ecumenical community – for me this included finishing back at Westcott with a glass of fizzy and cigar, wishing a Westcott leaver well as he travels up to spend a week with his family at his new home in Blackpool in the parish he will serve his title in, before he comes back briefly to be formally sent on his way by his House and by the rest of us within the Federation.
After such a wonderful day I am still floating from the feeling of a weight being lifted from my shoulders. I’m also looking forward to my sister visiting this weekend, and Mrs Nomad and the wee one returning home tomorrow evening. The rest of the term will feature some slight further work (I have my own Life & Service assignments to do), and preparations for the coming Summer Placements to South Africa and HMS Sultan. It will also feature the nerves of actually getting results! But for now I am very much enjoying the feeling of having nothing much to do, at least for the next few days.
Whether you’re enjoying some free time, or working hard, or wishing you had some work to actually do, travel well.