The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

So Peter Capaldi is the new Doctor! (My apologies to those who are not into Science Fiction!) I’m impressed and pleased that he has the role – it is an iconic part – and the little I’ve seen him, I’ve been happy enough with his performances (the arm chair critic that I am). In fact the Doctor Who episode he has been in (not as the Doctor of course) – the Fires of Pompeii – is one of my favourite episodes. So I am happy to see Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor) regenerate into Peter Capaldi (the 12th Doctor).

I also like the fact that Capaldi is an older actor. He is 55. Hmmm … I’m 55. And now I feel like leaning into the keyboard as I type (type softly perhaps?) and whisper this because it is a little silly but I did day dream for a little while (not long I’m sure … how long can a day dream be?) when it was announced that there would be a change in Doctors, about auditioning for the role! My acting days are long gone but I love the theatre and I’m not unused to its long hours and … why not?

At my stage of life with adult children and Charlotte and my work patterns, I’m sure such a change would have been possible. The ‘why not’ relates to the ‘why’ of what I am currently doing. I have been called by Ascension and the ELCE – and we all believe that God was behind this – to serve here and the mindset is that somehow God needs to ‘send me on’ so to speak. Of course that usually is another call but it could be retirement or another task / job of some sort. Since relationships govern behaviour and I’m still responsible for my decisions, such a decision needs to be made with God in mind and yet remain my decision.

How do we make decisions? By looking at the relationships around them. There is a time to stay and a time to go . There is a time to employ Person A and a time to employ Person B. Our world tells individuals to get what’s best for themselves. How do you determine what is best? Climb the ladder (over whomever is in the way)? Do it before someone does it to you. Tired or unhappy in your relationships? Change the person you’re with. What is the ‘bottom line’? If it is profit, then do what has to be done with company restructuring. So we increasingly have uncertainty in economics, politics (just because I said one thing before I was elected doesn’t mean I can’t do the opposite now), relationships and the reference points for our decision making diminishes more and more.

Of course, if we could go back in time and change a decision that doesn’t turn out so well, then deciding would be ‘easy’. But Doctor Who is fiction, life is lived one way, and there are no rewinds. And in this real world Christians trust that God is with us each day, all along the way, guiding us how we are to live in our relationships that day. So yes, they may be a time to leave employment – but there is not a time to change spouses. That’s not to say that someone mightn’t work for the same company all their working life and yet also be divorced.

But it is to say that for the Christians – seeking to follow God each day – it is God’s relationship with them that sets up parameters and guidelines for our behaviour and decisions and commitments. I believe that God’s will for us is that we live with him now and forever. That’s his plan. Almost the rest of our lives, he will work with us to bring about his blessings for us and for those around us and ultimately the world and we can make all sorts of decisions about that! Christian discipleship is actually marked by freedom. Yet also when we’re in relationships we are called to serve. That’s the framework in which we make decisions.

Now I wonder how long Ralph Fiennes is going to play M?  — GG