Those of you who have been paying attention will know that I’ve spent the last three years of my life in North London, studying for full-time Christian ministry in the Church of England at Oak Hill College. Well, those three years have positively flown by, and in the next two weeks I am going to finish at college, be ordained, and start work in my new role as curate in Great Clacton.
In short, it’s going to be absolutely crazy for a while. (Don’t expect too many blog posts over the next few weeks… I don’t know how much time I will have for blogging once I’m a curate, but hopefully I can do the occasional post).
I thought it might be worth reflecting on a few things I’ve learned over the last three years at college, focussing on this final year:
- God is amazing. To be honest, I didn’t really need three years of college to know this – but I think I have a much deeper appreciation of it now. As I said in my review of Simply God, “I’ve found my faith enlivened as we have considered together what it means for God to be God”. What does it mean for God to be eternal, omniscient, infinite, perfect…?
- God’s Word is amazing. This is something which I’ve particularly noticed since coming to college – I now have far more confidence in the Bible (i.e. God’s Word) than I used to have. I’ve had my eyes opened in a new way to how the Bible fits together, how to understand it, how to teach it. I believe God has called me to a ‘ministry of the Word’, i.e. a particular emphasis on preaching and teaching the Bible to people, and as such this is the kind of thing which gets me out of bed in the morning.
- What God has done for us is amazing. In the last term we’ve been looking at Justification, and how God could “justify the ungodly” (Romans 4:5). The implications of this are huge: what motivates us to love and serve God, for example? Are we motivated out of fear, wondering whether we could ever do enough to merit God’s favour? Or are we motivated by love, in thankfulness for what God has already accomplished?
- How God works is amazing. I’m thinking particularly here of the Pastoral Counselling course we did back in the first term. It was one of the most helpful practical courses I’ve done at college: how does the Gospel work out in people’s lives? It’s been very helpful for me both in my own life, and in talking to friends and family. God is at work in our situations, even if we don’t know the “why”.
I could go on, at some length, but that’s probably enough for now. I think it’s appropriate to finish with the doxology from the end of Hebrews:
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.