Tomorrow is my last day as Rector of St Mary Stoke Newington; on Wednesday I am consecrated as Bishop of Croydon. But my little ending and new beginning is somewhat overshadowed by yesterday’s news of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s impending resignation. Maybe my own transition has set me up a bit to think about how we could approach this time of change with hope and purpose, rather than colluding with the media expectation that it will just be a bear pit of fruitless competition between our competing factions.
So let’s start by ignoring the bookmakers – make a resolution not to note how the odds are changing. Follow that up by paying no attention to anyone, inside the Church or out, who claims to know who the new Archbishop will or won’t be. Why? Not just because they’re probably wrong, but because doing either of those things is a way of trying to escape from the uncertainty which is a real part of the situation – and which is where God’s gift to us lies right now.
Plenty of people are predicting the end of the Church over this or that issue. They always have been. If the Church were a purely human institution (and it’s always in danger of becoming one) it would surely die. If it takes the risk of faith, then it lives. So every time you feel tempted to check the betting, pray. I will if you will.