This weekend has been a weekend of new beginnings for the church where I work. Not only did we have a wonderful baptism on Sunday and celebrate two first birthdays, we also saw our new curate Rob being ordained at the cathedral. These kinds of new beginnings fill me with hope for the future of the church as we grow in number and vocation.
But it has also occurred to me that new beginnings don’t happen without an ending. My youngest turns ten next week and I am already grieving for the years that have passed. I know from experience with my older daughter that the relationship changes. The love is just as strong but it’s expressed differently and as a very tactile person I miss the hugs even if I’m not strong enough to lug them about, carry them on my shoulders or tip them upside down like I used to! I know the next stage brings with it a whole load of new joys, but for that to happen, we have to leave behind our old ways of relating to one another.
The same will be true for Rob and the others ordained this weekend as they come to terms with their new ‘collared’ existence. I remember needing time to grieve for the teaching job I’d left behind, as well as the friends we had to be parted from to begin a new life as a much less rooted ordained minister. And relationships with family and friends change as they adjust to the changes in your identity. The exciting new beginning doesn’t come without something also having to end. Much as we often want to have our cake and eat it, we also have to recognize that if we eat it, there will be no more cake!
Which brings me to the other new beginning for us, as this weekend also marked the start of our Summer Afternoon Teas every Sunday afternoon for the next two months. There will be a lot of cake eaten but also, we hope, a lot of new relationships built and nurtured through the sharing of food and hospitality.
So away with the old, in with the new, and let them eat cake!