Yesterday was a pretty big day; it was the first time I wore my uniform in church.
I was running the 11.30 family service and so my cassock and surplus went on. It is so hard to explain how different it felt. the closest I can get is: less like me, more like a conduit for God.
I was much less worried about my appearance, even if I did feel very embarassed by all the compliments and comments. It was a relief to know that I didn't have to worry about my choice of clothes, although I will in future wear much lighter weight clothes underneath - an extra two layers are hot.
I was aware that I was clearly visible as someone in a ministry role, in fact for the first time ever a new family came into the church and made a bee line for me. I hadn't realised this benefit, it does draw attention to newcomers that you are someone who they can approach easily. Of course the down side to this was the massive attention from the church congregation, I guess for the first time it all seemed very real to them as well as to me.
And real it was. I felt unbelievable fearful about walking from the vestry to the church itself, knowing that my uniform would draw a lot of attention to me. A wave of awareness flooded me, this year I will be licensed. Thanks to my lovely vicar and his wife, who prayed with me, this panic passed; what would I do without their support?
Leading the service was also different. I felt more able to trust myself, more willing to take silence at times, more open to where the service went. Of course some who were at the service might see this as a negative since my sermon went from a planned 12 minutes to more like 20 minutes, but no one openly complained.
And then in the afternoon a member of the congregation who I know really well, have done for years, rang me to ask if I could visit a friend of hers who is a christian but doesn't attend church of like vicars too much. She obviously could have asked this previously, but I think she felt more able to ask because she saw me being robed as a stage in my process to licensing.
It has been a sunday and a half.
so much to think and pray on.
so much to be thankful for.
so much to learn from.
Less a white marshmallow; more a minister called to serve.