Our visit coincided with Women in Ministry Day and I caught up very briefly with several friends including Carol, Ruth, Clare and Catriona - I met them in that order and had far too little time to talk about their ministries and how life was in the churches where they serve. But it did my heart no end of good to be amongst so many gifted and significant people whose ministries are expressed in creative faithfulness. I hope their time together was a time of mutual encouragement, shared expereince, renewed faith, replenished enthusiasm, and anything else that could in the generosity of God be given for their blessing and for the church's edicfication. The experience of women serving within a still male dominated leadership in our churches remains a pressing issue of justice, stewardship and fellowship, requiring biblical, theological and pastoral debate about the nature of the Gospel, the witness of a Gospel people, and the meaning of the liberty we have in Christ, and the liberty of Christ - to call to ministry those whom he calls. I've heard arguments for and against women in ministry - even to the point of stating what Christ can and cannot do as if the call of Christ has to answer to our theological scruples. At that point the issue becomes one of humility and obedience as key inner principles in any such responses, discussions and conclusions.
Then tonight watched the Champion's League Final - which Manchester United won. There are levels of emotional expenditure in football that come as close as anything else I've witnessed to relgious fervour - whether desolation or elation. I'm doing a paper later this summer on sport in general, and football in particular, as forms of secular spirituality. Tonight's game had some of the key elements of religiously generated expereince - prayer and cursing, praise and blame, fellowship and isolation, liturgical chants, and a sense of the absolute significance, even the cosmic implications of, THE RESULT. More on this later - time for bed.