Martlesham: Ground Control to Margaret R.

I’m at St Michael’s Martlesham this morning to license the Revd Margaret Rittman as Associate Priest, following her successful completion of her curacy there. It’s good she can stay because the Vicar, Tricia, is retiring and it will take a little while to appoint a new stipendiary.

So Margaret and the other team members will be busy, bless them. But that’s not quite the same as being in control… I’m not thinking so much about the fact that a new lead minister will come along soon, but about the deeper truth that all our leadership and ministry is under the charge of the one Good Shepherd, or (my mind is going back to an old song about Major Tom) Ground Control.

It’s good news – bad news – good news – bad news at first. To stay with flying analogy, Margaret is getting an upgrade; BUT it’s to the cabin and the pilot’s just leaving. HOWEVER she’s just got her own wings, BUT she’s spit new and will struggle to remember all the training.

An upgrade always appeals to our sense of self: but that is Old Deal stuff, in which faith is all too easily seen as a sort of deal with God – and we fail to be able to keep our side of the bargain. So thank goodness for a New Deal, as God sets up a new sort of connection with us, writes his rules on our hearts, and speaks in our spirits.

You know, with that sort of arrangement we might just make it. How will we know it’s going all right? Because we’ll see lots of prayer to keep the connection to Ground Control open; a willingness to share the work with each other so we don’t overstretch any one of us; and because of  that a growing capacity to care for others in the community, not just ourselves. (And St M’s has got great plans for its Fresh Espresso cafe, opening very soon.)

Great challenges, but great opportunities too. Don’t lose contact with Ground Control!