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I wasn't like that, was I?

Sometimes, thinking on past memories, I am brought up with a jolt, ‘Did I really say that?’

‘Oh no, that’s so embarrassing!’

‘If only I knew then what I know now…’

Recently, a similiar moment occurred in conversation with the Presbytery panel, appointed for the Vital Ministry Consultation.

Discussing my placement at Gordon, a panel member made a comment that rang many bells. It was wonderfully affirming, profoundly insightful, and also painful, all three.

It was almost a revelation.

‘If only I’d understood that 27 years ago when I was ordained!’ I thought afterward.

However, no one knows all that is needed, even and especially about ourselves! (‘Now we see in a mirror, dimly.’ 1 Corinthians 13:12)

What we can sensibly aspire to is learning more, by growing, changing, and on the way, developing wisdom.

The best way to do this is to take chances, risk making mistakes, sometimes continuing in a rut, and seeing partially, but then uncovering a vital insight.

Moments of significant insight prod us to keep going, to keep walking ahead.

Moreover, having friends and colleagues who are willing to offer wisdom and discernment is a great encouragement.

It is appropriate to view Jesus through a similar lens.

At Bible study on Thursday, looking at Mark’s description of Jesus’ baptism, we noted a poignant moment when a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved.’ (It touched deep memories for some, the gift of love…)

Here was one of those experiences that was profoundly important for Jesus, a spur to growth and change.

Presumably, he cherished it.

However, it did not mean that he then knew enough to stop growing.

It did not mean that he was always able to rest peacefully and securely in the One who had blessed him with love.

Like everyone, Jesus had to take chances, and make decisions without knowing all the ramifications.

Like everyone, he was not immune from darkness and shadows.

Insights occur in minds and hearts. They do not change the world around, nor even the world inside our heads.

We can only test their veracity by putting them into practice, by looking at life in a new way.

Then, growth and development will take place.

Trusting this process requires faith.

Jesus is rightly celebrated and honoured for his wisdom. What is less recognised is the pathways and risks he took to arrive at this wisdom.

What pathways are you taking?