Week three; year one! – Student eye views
Below are two student accounts of their first few weeks at the College of the Resurrection.
Theresa of Avila says, ‘The important thing is not to think much but to love much, and so do that which best stirs you to love’. Unfortunately, as ordinands we can’t really escape the thinking part, as we hurtle from lecture to lecture soaking up the theology tentatively placed into our hands, our minds churn in the tea breaks as we live and breathe faith seeking understanding. But equally, whilst living the Mirfield common life- the other thing we cannot escape is love. Not an easy, simplified love that will make an appearance on February 14th, but a depth of love that comes from living alongside difference and loving beyond it, of serving one another both at the dinner table and at the altar, and of having our hearts daily stirred to love by the One who calls us. So that one day, God willing, we may serve in His name.
We are almost three weeks into the Michaelmas term and the prospect of a seminar presentation and a Theology I essay loom hazily into sight. I am, it’s fair to say, ‘loving it’ as a student the college and being loved into it. Yet I come to this second Bachelors’ degree from a very particular perspective, completing it as I am with the permission and blessing of my community. I have attended no Bishops’ Advisory Panel and am not, as far as I know, in receipt of a free Church Times.
‘How do you manage it?’ asked a brother as we washed-up breakfast together this morning. Well, I suppose the answer is with what my maths teachers might have termed ‘trial and improvement!’ I do not know what God is up to in calling me in this way: it is simultaneously exciting and yet tough to discern. I am working with what I can see only dimly, for sure. I have always had a wish for a CoR theological training since I came here as a potential ordinand in 2009. That led me to test a vocation in the community and I have now lived in CR for four years. It is a good and holy place.
Being in the college will certainly demand of me testy things, not the least of which will be discernment of how to live well within two similar, yet distinct communities. Then there are the essays with their deadlines! Argh! But love, who is Christ Jesus, is within speaking peace and giving all of us grace ‘both to will and to work for his good pleasure’. (Phil. 2.13) And thus far it is working out! There abides our collective faith and hope, whose fruits are daily and tangibly being worked out in the field of common life and worship, and within which we commit daily to living the apostolic life side by side.
It is certainly a challenge for all of us in different ways at different points, but a harvest is already being reaped and the kingdom built amongst us in a clear way as we make friends and ‘do [the] life which really is life.’ It is an experience for which I and surely all of us, newbies and returners alike, give thanks. I pray we will continue to learn and grow together into His building and become dwelling-places worthy of so sweet a guest in the year ahead.
Br. Marc CR