Reflecting on ordination day – with Meatloaf!

And all I can do 
Is keep on telling you 
I want you (I want you) 
I need you (I need you) 
But-there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you 
Now don’t be sad (Don’t be sad) 
‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad 
Now don’t be sad (Cause) 
‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad

So sang Meatloaf.

Now I never thought that Meatloaf – who I used to play at full volume on my ‘ghetto blaster, remember them, during break at school with my mate the Rev’d Andrew Bawtree, who will be with me tomorrow at my ordination), would be a source of ‘theological reflection’ (I hope that I can, trough therapy and mixing with ‘normal’ people slowly withdraw from using this term!) in the run up to ordination!  And yet, even though I am taking his work totally out of context (another term I have become accustomed to throwing about) I think he does have something to say to me / us.

First of all life is a mixture of the good and the bad, the light and the dark, joy and sadness. And so, two out of three really ain’t bad. St. Ignatius, who urges us to rank consolation over our desolation, in a spiritual practice called the Examen, would presumably agree.

Secondly, because we all need to recognize our need to be in union with our deepest desire and, I suspect that wants and needs are part of the DNA of desire. Let’s go with the psalmist on this one: ‘As my soul longs for the water brooks, so my soul longs for you. My soul is athirst for you, even for the Living God,’ (Psalm 42, 1& 2). To be a fool is to turn away from our deepest desire, for as the psalmist also writes ‘the fool has said in his heart ”there is no God,”’ (Psalm 53, 1). I suspect that St. Augustine nailed it when he described sin as ‘disordered passion,’ the turning away from the our deepest desire. Meatloaf in a funny kindda way (sorry about the pop slang) proves the point about disordered passion, or sin, because in his ‘psalm’ he anatomically splits need and desire from love; whereas in Christianity love is the glue that binds all goods together, love of God, love of each other.

But thinking ahead to tomorrow – ‘my’ big day – I will really will accept that ‘two out of three ain’t bad.’ Three things of significance take place tomorrow.

The British (and Irish) Lions play Australia in the second, and potentially decisive, test.  

It is my wedding anniversary. Twenty two years ago I married Sallyanne. She has been a wonderful wife (and, she has been a catalyst for all that has happened since – imagine what I might have been like if she hadn’t enouraged me to go to church, to get baptized and confirmed, to go to Uganda and very early in our marriage to leave a business whose values she felt to be threatening to my newly found faith!) We all need ‘significant others, life partners, soul mates – she has been, and is, mine. So I am glad that she will share with me the third significant event tomorrow:

My ordination as a deacon.

The Lions might lose, but God willing, I will be around to celebrate my wedding anniversary and to get ordained. Life has many more consolations than desolations. The road ahead will be bumpy, but as Meatloaf says ‘two out of three aint bad.’

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