I delight in the interface between the tidy and the untidy. I keep fairly well hidden the fact that my background is one quarter German preferring to play to that part of my make-up which by several generations of background is Irish. And I try to live creatively between order and disorder.
Which is often where ministry is. As last Sunday in our congregation in Crieff. Some no doubt saw the bishop turning up for a Confirmation Service. They will have associated that with a traditional understanding of Confirmation as the ‘gateway’ to Holy Communion. No harm in that – that’s what I was taught. But what was actually happening was that we had a Service of Affirmation for a group of young people who had taken part in a Youth Alpha Course.
Some of the young people saw this as ‘Confirmation’ in the traditional understanding – others wanted to make a visible affirmation of their faith, receive the Laying on of Hands and be anointed. I don’t have any difficulty with that – certainly nothing other than delight in being part of a growing ministry among young people. The only question which I registered was the simultaneous desirability and undesirability of making any differentiation between the two.
I decided in the end that the Holy Spirit is on the side of untidiness and the rest is mine and the church’s problem.