“You already look the part” was one of many comments made to me as I stood by the front door, posing for a photograph on my first day at ‘Vicar School’. I’ve been thinking over that for the past few days now, and I wonder what it actually means? Does it mean that I need to think carefully about my wardrobe choices before I leave the house each day, for fear of looking like your stereotypical female priest? Or does it mean because I look the part, I must already have everything already needed to play the part? Or maybe, that someone could see something in me, that I have always struggled to see, something which I still struggle to see even today.
I am about to undergo two years of theological education which will (hopefully!) prepare me to be a priest in the Church of England. My journey up to this point has been far from easy. It’s been a long and winding road, full of ups and downs. I have resisted the call of God and said ‘no’ more times than I care to count. And when I walked out of my front door on Monday morning and made my way towards Liverpool Cathedral (where I will be based for my training), I still couldn’t believe that this was all actually happening!! God has called me. The Church has recognized that. And at the end of these two years, ready or not, I will (hopefully) have a white piece of plastic strapped to my neck. And I really will look the part then!
I have recently begun to study the book of Daniel. Daniel is often known for having exceptional courage, and great faith, even in the face of suffering. And above all else, he puts God first. Courage and faith are two things that I will certainly need over the course of these next two years (and beyond) – something the director of my college has been praying for, for all those preparing to train at St. Mellitus this year. For just like Daniel, just like Mellitus, just like Aidan (the other name my college has adopted) we are called to be faithful to God, we are all called to be light-bearers of his gospel, and we are all called to invite Jesus into our homes and families, our local communities, our nation [Matthew 28:19-21] – whether we look the part or not!
So, as I begin this new adventure, I ask you to pray with and for me (and for all those who have faithfully responded to the call of God) that I might have great faith and great courage; so that I might begin to see the priest God is forming me to be!