It was over forty years ago. I was leading worship in the parish where I served my first curacy. Two old ladies sat together in the congregation. One turned to the other and, slightly louder than seemed strictly necessary, pronounced, "He's the makings of a Vicar."
I have been striving manfully ever since to live up to that early acclamation. The burden of expectation, imagined and real, has sometimes been trickier than you might think.
For a while now I have not been what I would call a Sunday Christian. I haven't been in church regularly on Sunday for over ten years, since indeed I retired from professional ministry. I have been instead a kind of Tuesday Christian, until recently offering the Eucharist at noon in a local parish church and giving pastoral support as chaplain in a hospice and, more lately, a cathedral setting.
But not usually on Sunday.
Sunday feels to me like a day of celebration - resurrection, confidence, strong affirmation - a day to stand up and be counted - to fly the flag - a day for Christians to be at their best.
I feel that I am more of a Tuesday Christian - a marginal believer - a devout sceptic - a displaced person - a disappointed priest.