Over the last year a few of my friends have confided that they are thinking about going into ministry or are considering ordination in the Church of England. One of them, a former colleague, has been accepted and has left teaching, another is going through the selection process for an evangelical bible college. I also have a number of cyber friends and acquaintances who have recently been ordained, are considering this, or have given up on this cherished idea because of various difficulties and constraints. I was interested today to see that Red is also agonising about whether to become a priest - and in my experience people often do agonise before coming to a decision, rightly so as it is a big step to take.
From time to time people ask me if I am considering ordination. My response is usually "no"; my private thoughts are that I would rather have my arms sawn off ! I am not sure my faith is strong enough for a start, or at least it is something that is too private and idiosyncratic. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with church, it is not a place where I always feel at ease. Furthermore, I have never felt that God is calling me to the priesthood, I think he knows that I am not cut out for church, or rather church is not cut out for me! I also think I do have my own "ministry", even if it is not an official one.
I don't get asked the "vicar question" as much these days, but at one point it was happening so frequently that I wondered if God really was trying to tell me something! It came to a head when a colleague, Tony, who had earlier been teasing me about my supposed vicar potential, was trying to decide which horse to place a bet on. I suggested that, given our earlier conversation, he should either put the money on a horse named "The Lord" or alternatively gamble on one called "Holy Orders" ( you can see that I would be good at leading others to righteousness...) Tony put bets on both horses.
Putting trust in The Lord did pay off as he came in at five to one and won a tidy sum. Holy Orders was a complete disaster, I don't think he even stayed the course.
I'm not making this up, it really did happen!
I think it was a sign...