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Ponder anew

In a PS at the end of last week's 'From the Vicar' I said that in the Hebrew Scriptures, the word for 'glory' derives from the Hebrew word for 'weight'. This struck a chord with a number of you, and I've been pondering it ever since.

I pondered it as I sat in Ely Cathedral at the weekend, watching the world turn as David and Jon were ordained, and considered the weight of my own calling.

I pondered it as I sat in Great St Mary's on Sunday evening at David's first mass, listening to Jon proclaim the Gospel that 'the leader must be the servant of all'.

I pondered it as I sat in a coffee shop discussing Augustinian theology with my friend Graham, the Chaplain of Fitzwilliam College, on Tuesday. It was this conversation in particular that set me thinking.

Because to ponder is, literally, to weigh something - we get our word 'pound' from the Latin pondus, and pondera is Latin for 'balance'. At the heart of Mary's vocation to be the mother of the Christ is the weight of her calling - we are told that Mary 'kept all these things and pondered them in her heart' (Luke 2.17). And, as I wrote in last week's eMag, the language of 'weighing' is a significant part of the Ordinal. 'You cannot bear the weight of this calling in your own strength'. 'We trust that long ago you began to weigh and ponder all this'.

I feel the weight of my calling right now: my calling as a priest, as Vicar, as a husband, as a friend, and, first and foremost, as a human being. It is not burdensome, although it has the potential to be so when my defences are down. Scripture suggests that such a weight has the potential for glory, and that is something that I shall go on considering in my prayer, my study, and my being.

Unable to run or play squash at present due to a calf injury (ask David) I know I am putting on weight. A ponderous priest! But one who is trying to find time for some ponder-ing too. As, I hope, will you.

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