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St Columba's Crosspool

Open to God, Welcoming All

Sixty second sermon: being a beginner

Strange reverberations have been coming from my study recently, sounds that bear an uncanny resemblance to those of a lorry reversing up a steep hill. You see, I’ve begun to learn the double bass. In my head there’s fantastic music that wants to play, but the reality is a lot more clunky. Why wouldn’t it be, though? I’m not a member of the London Philharmonic, I’m a beginner. It’s fun beginning the double bass, and yet I notice how I keep bumping up against the limits of my competence. I get things wrong a lot. And that reminds me of the other bits of my life: being a Vicar, being a wife and a Mum. I’ve been doing those things for quite a long time, but I still often feel like a beginner. If my life was a tune there would be a plenty of duff notes in there!

The God who meets me in Jesus tells me it’s Ok to be a beginner, to keep beginning again. My child, he says, your sins are forgiven. God’s forgiveness makes new beginnings possible. As the poet Philip Larkin wrote: “Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.”

Broadcast by Frances Eccleston on BBC Radio Sheffield Sunday March 2nd