For me, this has been a busy week. I work at Aston University, on Monday the new term starts and our students have been arriving over the past few days. On Friday I met my new tutees; the students who have just arrived and for whom I will have pastoral responsibility over their time with us. Of course, this will be a year like no other, but some things were familiar. Every time I do this, I’m taken back to when I was a newly-arrived student, meeting my tutor for the very first time. That was now over forty years ago (!), but the memory remains fresh. The emotions are still vivid; a mixture of excitement, apprehension and uncertainty; perhaps really a dash of fear. I was now entering a new phase of my life; what would the future hold? And, so imperfectly over a computer screen, as I spoke with my new students and listened to their questions, I sensed at least some of them were having exactly the same emotions.
The truth is that every moment of our lives, we are facing the future. Often it is very predictable but we can never be sure what opportunities and challenges will face us. Occasionally we are particularly aware that we are moving to a new phase of our lives, but those moments only happen because of a host of decisions we have taken earlier and events that have happened to us.
As a vicar, I start my day by saying Morning Prayer, a short service available online (https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer) . I do it because it grounds me at the start of the day; it reminds me of who I am and what I should be. Almost at the start of this service are the words “The night has passed, and the day lies open before us; let us pray with one heart and mind.” I love that phrase; the first part reminds me that no matter how routine I expect the day to be, it has potential. The is double-edged, potential for things to go well or to go badly. That is where the second part comes in; whatever happens, I will face that day with God.