We're getting into holiday mode as we set off for la belle France on Wednesday. I haven't taken the car for France for over ten years, so yesterday I was reminding myself of the rules - what do I need - and rushing to Halfords to stock up!
As ever, I have far too much to finish before going away and so have been making lists of things I won't finish but will need to pay attention to when I get back so that things will run smoothly in the autumn.
For instance, we're going to be basing a lot of our teaching and learning from October through to Easter next year in Matthew's gospel. I've been having a great time reading Luz, Hauerwas, Stanton, et al trying to get a handle on the structure and themes of the gospel (which I confess I don't know nearly so well as Luke). I was really excited late last week when I discovered that Dick France (my old NT tutor from LBC) has written the commentary on Matthew for the NICNT series and it's coming out this summer (see Amazon for details - it'll be well worth checking out and is a lot cheaper than Nolland or Luz).
However, despite all the background reading, I still haven't come up with a structure for a series that does justice to the gospel and takes in Christmas and Easter which I can share with the rest of my team.
I also have an article to finish for Ministry Today in which I'm reflecting on the influence of Jeremiah 29.7 on my ministry over the past nearly 20 years. I'm wondering about ministry as a particular form of exile; if the church is in some way in exile in our culture, do ministers in some way embody that exile and model how to live in it to their congregations?
More particularly, I am teasing some of my feelings about my current ministry and whether the tension between feeling at home and feeling displaced is helping me to be more creative, sympathetic to strangers, less prepared to put up with the status quo and possibly more dependent on God.
I'm hoping to get this finished by close of play on Tuesday (and still have had time to pack!)