I've been thinking a lot about my time in Oxford recently. A new greenway near our house winds through woods and fields, reminding me of the walking paths near the house that I called home that year - in the Jericho section of town right on the canals. I remember the church services in the dear little Anglican church I attended - the mystery of communion where we actually all drank real wine from the same cup and lived to tell the tale. Uneven cobblestones and life size chess boards and wine served at evening lectures and running along the canal and fresh chips from a street vendor and libraries so big you need a map to get out - these are a few of my favorite things.
My heart is restless with the coming of fall, the passing of Emmett's birthday, and a recent vicious viral infection. I want to change, to move away and start over, to find a new job, a new church, a new life. But I recognize that in doing any of these things, I will inevitably take with me the only thing I actually want to leave behind - my sinful, stained, corrupted flesh.
I have many fond memories of Oxford, but the most vivid memory is the weight of transformation pressed upon me by God during my time there. Through pain and loneliness and falling short of many standards despite my intense studying, I was held together by the beauty and the mystery of grace poured out on the weak. My restless heart seems to be learning those lessons anew this fall. My prayer is for a faith to see the wonder in the story unfolding in this moment and trust in the one who is telling it.