I’ve been feeling tetchy today. Everything seems to be aimed at me. It isn’t, of course. It’s not personal when an administrative process goes wrong and messes a member of my family about as a result. It’s not personal that the timing on the traffic lights in the village has been reset, meaning it took seven minutes to get through them when I had a deadline. It’s not personal when the phone goes just at the wrong point for a train of sermon thought. It’s not personal when someone tweets a worried tweet which triggers similar worries in me. It’s not personal that I can’t speak to someone when I want to talk to them.
The one thing that has been aimed at me personally is some feedback from my lovely TI on the way I’ve been preaching recently, which was on the money, helpful, constructive, and which I’ve been working on this afternoon. Odd that the only thing that really has been personal today is the thing for which I am most thankful – the gift of honest feedback.
I’ve been reading the story of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple today. It contains the Nunc Dimittis, the poem that Simeon said when he saw Jesus. In the Book of Common Prayer, it’s part of Evening Prayer, and the first verse goes “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word”. I had a look at a literal translation of the original Greek “Now you release your slave, Master, according to your word in peace”. It changes the feel, doesn’t it? Being a slave who is released, rather than a servant who is allowed to leave? It’s made me think about what happens when we meet Jesus, when we see our own salvation, and how we respond. Now that, that is personal.