Daily Worship

Challenging the institution

Laura Digan May 06, 2020 0 2
Image credit: Unsplash
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John 8: 53-59 (NRSVA)

53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you claim to be?’ 54 Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, “He is our God”, 55 though you do not know him. But I know him; if I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. 56 Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.’ 57 Then the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ 58 Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.’ 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

I have told this story a few times to people, but when I was a wee girl I wanted to be a Minister. My Mum and Dad were on the cleaning rota of the church we attended. So, every two months or so they would take me and my brother with them to clean the church. When we were there I used to go up with my cloth and polish and clean the pulpit. I say clean, but I wasn’t really for I would go up into the pulpit and pretend to be the Minister! 

Our Minister was a passionate man, on fire for the Lord and I would try and copy his mannerisms and his voice. As a young girl what he actually said went completely over my head, but his delivery and enthusiasm inspired my little heart. When I grew up I wanted to be just like him!

The problem was when I was growing up I never seen any women in the pulpit. Growing up in late 80s/early 90s women had been ordained as Ministers of Word and Sacrament for just over 20 years. But I never encountered any female Ministers. In my world only men were Ministers. It didn’t help that at the time the debate was raging in the Church of England whether to ordain women as priests. So, having no female role models I put aside my secret ambition to become a Minister, for I was just a wee daft lassie. 

God though awakened my call later in life, and I am now training for Ministry. In fact, there are now slightly more women than men training for Ministry. I know I and my colleagues only have this opportunity thanks to the women and men who fought hard for women to be ordained. The women and men who challenged the church institution.

I believe we are now entering a new phase of challenge and debate. What is church? Where is church? Who is church? If sacred space is also online and, in the home, how do we deliver the sacraments?


Lord God,
Open our hearts and our minds to your creative power
Help us to understand how we can adapt how we communicate your Word and our traditions 
In changing times

INVITATION: Today, find a photo of yourself as a child and share it with a friend if you feel comfortable. What did you want to be when you grew up? Share with us in the comments section below.