This post is extremely late, for which I apologise. However, I am sure the length will concern most of you more than the timing.
The sermon (mp3) in the morning service was all about God’s promises to us. It focused on 2 Peter 1:4 but darted around many passages in the Bible looking at some of the many and varied promises that God gives to His people. During the day I was very grateful for concern shown by the man whose house I was staying at during the afternoon as he thought I was unusually quiet. It was lovely, as always, to know the church members do care for me and look out for my wellbeing, and it was nice to be able to open up about my worries about my 3rd year project. He was not unsympathetic. In the evening I took a wander to Carey to see Anna’s baptism, which was a joy to see. How exciting to see four people publicly professing that God has changed them and is continuing to change them! Once I was home I filled in the evening by watching Thunderball, which I’d not seen before. Having a housemate who owns all the James Bond films has its advantages.
Monday was a busy day, beginning with my quiet time and reading blogs before RUCUS at lunchtime. Afterwards I met Geraldine for one of our regular meetings before going to Isaac’s stag do. After watching some of the others playing mao at his house we went to Wagamama’s, which I’d never been to before. It was the first time in about 15 years that I’d used chopsticks, so although I was rather proficient in their use in reception I took even longer than usual to eat my meal! Most people didn’t think that was possible! We went on to watch the new Star Trek film which was well summed up by Adam when he asked me “Do you like sci-fi? Do you like action films? Well you’ll like this then”.
I got up a bit later than hoped, as I was back from the film quite late, but I managed to get going by about 10:30. It took a long time to go through my emails, so it was time for lunch by the time I finished. I watched panorama while eating my sandwiches, then planned the RUCU committee meeting and spent some time thinking through RUCU’s constitution. After dinner I was at a Bridges small group prayer meeting which was great, and we had a good planning time for our hall event too. Before going to bed I read a bit of John Piper (Don’t waste your life) which was nice, as whenever I’m in Reading I hardly do any reading. I blame the place name.
My day started at 9am with a committee meeting, after which I met Janice to plan the CU main meeting for that week. In the afternoon I went to a chaplaincy social barbecue held at Mark’s house. I’d never been there before, and it was a really nice house. The BBQ was pretty good too, though it should be given how many Mark seems to do every year! It was a good chance to chat to some of the Christians at the chaplaincy who I don’t know very well, though I fear I made quite poor use of it. I did some revision in evening, but ended up being distracted by having a play fight with Lee (no idea how or why it started) then stayed up chatting to Andy until about 3:45. At this point it was getting light at the birds were singing outside, which appalled Andy when I told him to listen. Sadly it was not a unique experience for me.
I got up far earlier than my body would have liked and used the morning to do last minute revision for my afternoon exam. I decided to revise in Cafe Mondial to avoid being distracted by my computer, and I had arranged to meet Cid there at lunchtime to ask him to consider being RUCU prayer secretary. By God’s providence I met him on the way and asked him then, which was more convenient for both of us. My exam was very good, and I had to answer two questions which were both easy. The topic included some things I had done enough before for it to be common sense, and the parts I hadn’t already known was quite straightforward. The CU main meeting was in the evening, and I, being a genius, forgot my printed plan of the evening. I was meant to meet Jonathan Wilmot, our speaker for the evening, in a card park I had given him directions to, and had to run to redo my printing and still meet him. The meeting was fine, being full but a little unorganised.
Friday had a slow start to day. I forget what mundanity filled the morning, but it was the RUCUS summer party at lunch which wasn’t very party-like, but was a good chance to chat as lots of people turned out. I think I spoke to all the people I know there, so I was quite pleased even though I found no opportunities to share the gospel, something I’m desperate to do with them! Afterwards I was at another social, this time for the RUCU committee. The idea was to get to know each other a bit better, and it was very enjoyable, but slightly spoiled by the fact two people couldn’t make it. In hindsight arraging it on a day when one of them had a placement was exceptionally poor planning on my part, but never mind. Gareth kindly ran a freshers seminar after it, which was helpful, but I have project work kicking off so I still don’t have a great deal of free time. To my shame a significant amount of the seminar hasn’t yet been used. I chose modules at the last minute, and looked a bit further into possible 3rd year projects. I was still a little undecided between computer science and cybernetics projects, so I wrote a shortlist which ended up consisting of 8 computer science projects and 4 cybernetics ones, so I chose computer science with a view to switching if it became problematic. Despite knowing I needed to get up in the morning the next day I watched My Weapon is a Dog and Reggie Perrin on iPlayer, which was stupid. Both programmes were disappointing anyway.
The Pure day dominated, running as it did from 10am-4pm. It was much less awkward than I expected, and it was refreshing to talk so openly and honestly without the usual social restraints of casual conversation. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I found it to be less practical than I expected (I don’t know what could make it more practical though). Having said that, I think what I found most useful was the Biblical grounding for it all rather than the practical discussion bits anyway, so I was very happy with it. On the way home I bought ice cream, which was wonderful (I can’t remember the last time I had ice cream from an ice cream van before it) then I made dinner for the house. A few Bridgites came over in the evening to watch Stardust, which was better than it looked though not brilliant. Later I watched Have I got a bit more news for you before heading to bed.
For the first time in far too long I was ready to go out to church on time. This was largely because Rachel was visiting, and I didn’t want to make her late for church. I didn’t need to worry though as she managed that herself. I must confess to a mixture of relief and amusement at the situation. The morning service contained what I considered to be a very good sermon, about the need to add to faith, not for salvation but for growth (mainly taken from 2 Peter 1:5-11). During the afternoon I spent time at Meg’s with Rachel, Andy and Daniel and had lots of good conversations. Discussing the morning sermon was particularly interesting. The evening sermon was about Jesus’ authority, and some parables about him. Once home I watched the MotoGP race from Mugello which was an excellent race, probably the best so far this season.
In the morning the university put on an introduction to computer science projects, which was just about useless as the lecturer leading it essentially read the information he had put online a few weeks previously. More helpfully, he also arranged a free lunch afterwards to chat about the projects with the staff who were proposing them. I talked to a few people who had proposed projects I was interested in, and based on that I chose to do a project focused on family tree software, and enabling it to do more than it currently can. I popped briefly into RUCUS before meeting with Geraldine for our weekly confab, and in the evening small group was held outside, this time rather more warmly than the previous occasion!
Having slept in rather tooo long, I confirmed how unfit I am by attempting to jog onto campuslate for my meeting with two people I know from CU. Afterwards I chatted to Mark Laynesmith for a while, then headed with him to the RUSU faith forum. The meeting was fairly dull, and didn’t affect RUCU on the whole, but there were a few bits that did. I didn’t contribute, but Peter did a fine job of representing the work of RUCU. In the evening I made my usual trip to the house of a family at church who kindly put up with the students before the Bible study and prayer meeting each week. Somehow I managed to leave my Bible study preparation for the next day’s committee meeting rather late, so it was abuot 4:30am before I got to bed! Definitely not a habit to be cultivated!
Naturally, given my late night, I managed to pitch up to the committee meeting somewhat later than would have been desirable. Once it was over I registered my selection of project choices (I had to choose three in case my first choice was too popular) then went to meet Andrew Waugh. After a very productive conversation with him, during which he was both gracious and instructive, I went to Idol Chatter, a seminar being run by Will Eley about identifying idols in our lives. During the evening I spent my time reading before watching The Apprentice and You’re Fired with Andy, and managed to get to bed at a reasonable hour of the day.
Thursday was the most frustrating day I have had for quite a while. I needed to print the RUCU constitutional changes which the committee is proposing to hand them out at the CU main meeting in the evening, I needed to go shopping for food before cooking dinner, and I needed to vote in the European elections. I decided to combine the three in a round trip I expected to take a little over an hour, but by the time I returned home significantly more time had somehow elapsed. I don’t know where the day went, and I have no recollection of time wasting, but neither do I recall what else I did before the CU main meeting! The speaker there was Simon Pethick, and he gave a very good talk full of application about not judging others and avoiding cliques, both useful lessons in a CU.
Much to my disgust by the time I got home from prayer breakfast my watch was informing me it was 10:20. Considering this is an 8-9am prayer meeting I wasn’t pleased! I had expected to stay longer than 9, but it still mucked up my timings for the day. After I had my quiet time it was already time to meet Josh, a meeting which also took much longer than expected, lasting as it did abuot 2½ hours. There wasn’t much time for me to spend at home before I was on campus again, meeting Josh and a few people from the Bulmershe small group to discuss how we can integrate the Bulmershe campus into our mission more. The evening consisted of nothing more lively than washing up and reading, but I was encouraged by a lot of the blog posts I read. I also got round to writing a blerb about RUCU and my testimony for a leaflet being given out at the Bridges hall event on Monday.
Shockingly, I was up at about 9:30am, primarily because there was a joint church fellowship outing planned for today. It was sadly cancelled due to the rain, but I made good use of the time anyway by finally clearing my inbox (including one email from April!) and reading all the blog posts I hadn’t read over the last few weeks but wanted to. As I have slept since then, I am now incapable of remembering what else happened that day, but I do seem to remember the evening was much less productive than I hoped and involved watching iPlayer, or a film, or something along those lines.
My congratulations to those of you dedicated enough to read this entire blog post. Now get back to something useful!