Those of us who are called to ordination have agreed that, with the help of God, we will continue along a path of life-long learning. For me, it is made manifest in pursuit of a degree course, but for others it has different connotations and expressions.
This very day I accompanied a Year Two group of kids to a woodland centre near here (that makes them 6-7 years old). They were there to learn about nature, a little about the creatures that share this Rock with them, and all in a creative and fun way. We walked through the woods, we drew, we listened, and then we sought minibeasts. That was for them a highlight - seeking out bugs and beetles and other creepy-crawleys and finding out what they were from the laminated Key which I was entrusted with. We turned over logs, unearthed leaf-mulch, stared at tree bark, all in pursuit of the Perfect Minibeast. A cleric not too far from my computer right now unearthed not one but two centipedes, so I am now the Hero of the Day!
Anyway, it isn't really about minibeasts that I am writing - but rather that absolute joy and exhuberance of learning that kids their age display. They must have seen thirty harvestmen and eight trillibillion woodlice, but every single specimen was greeting by a shriek of achievement. Not only were they glad for themselves, but endlessly proud that they, with their own grubby paws, had found that bug there Father David ... I confess that their enthusiasm was wholly intoxicating - so much so that had you emerged slightly later on, you would have found this author sitting crosslegged near a leaf pile - poking it with a stick to see what emerged. Yes, bugs crept out, and yes, I was excited and proud like them. That is how infectious learning can be, I am fast discovering.
I now pray that as I unearth some of the secrets of the Holy, I might recieve each step forward as the epiphany moment that it is. Perhaps I will scream and shout, and maybe I might even run to the Bish's house to tell him what I have discovered! I have 32 years and two months of ministry ahead of me (making a load of assumptions), and I hope that in just a few moments of that I can become childlike again. The stuff I unearth day by day is not in the realm of the minibeast - it is far more exciting, if only I could re-learn how to show it.