Recently I have been asked to visit a number of churches to preach on the diocesan Living Faith vision and last evening I was in Padbury with the Buckingham deanery. Each time I preach about living faith I am challenged about my own life as an archdeacon in relation to the mission of the church. Viewed one way the role of archdeacon can be rather unexciting - administrative, legalistic, detailed and prescriptive. Viewed another, I am first and foremost called by God to be a Christian. So as I speak about the task we are all called to of Making Disciples I realise that my own life has to be a witness to others; as I speak about Collaborative Leadership I have to remember that we am not called to work in isolation but in partnership working with and encouraging others; as I talk about Creating Vibrant Christian Communities I am aware that I need too to give my energy and enthusiasm to the local church and to enable those I meet to be the people God has called them to be. As I preach about Making a Difference in the World I am aware of my calling as an ambassador for the gospel wherever God takes me.
Lent is a time when we consider how much we fall short of God's purposes for us. That certainly happens when I reflect on what I preach. So I was extremely grateful last night to sing this well known hymn:
O thou who camest from above,
the fire celestial to impart,
kindle a flame of sacred love
on the mean altar of my heart.
There let it for thy glory burn
with inextinguishable blaze,
and trembling to its source return
in humble prayer and fervent praise.
Jesus, confirm my heart's desire
to work, and speak and think for thee;
still let me guard the holy fire
and still stir up the gift in me.
Ready for all thy perfect will,
my acts of faith and love repeat,
till death thy endless mercies seal,
and make the sacrifice complete.