Wednesday, 22 February 2006

A spot of ultimate rest ...

Goodness me! I see I haven’t posted here since 22 November – before Thanksgiving!! Other things in life have obviously taken priority. So much has happened since my last post. Priest Idol did finish out, and I will post my review on the final episode. Eventually. Until then, suffice it to say, God was definitely in charge of the producers, whether they wanted Him to be or not.

The year ended with much to look back at and reflect upon for this new start at 2006. Does this ever happen to you? Certain projects started and issues cropping up in life would be great if they could literally begin and end within the cycle of our 12-month year, but it just does not always work that way. God’s time is so relative to the watches we wear on our wrists. Sometimes I want the hour to chime before He is ready for it to begin sounding. But He holds the plans, and drives the vehicle, and lately I have been willing to just sit in the back seat and watch the scenery of the journey go by. You know how frustrating, though, it can be as a passenger in the back seat? It’s difficult to see the road and scenery ahead, because the front seats and the headrests muck up the view! So I’ve had to resign myself to watching what passes by on the sides. There have been some messes along the way, and I am so weary. And yet there have been some awesome landscapes we have driven by. God knows my weariness, though, patiently stopping along the way at each of these tremendous settings. At these spots of ultimate rest, He asks me to pause and reflect.

One spot was, of all places, at -- get ready -- Butlins in Bognor Regis! It was the end of January and the beginning of February, and every day was bitterly cold, mostly rainy. Who wants to go to Butlins at Bognor to begin with? And then to have to experience the place during off-season?? I know, I’m thinking not exactly a ‘spot of ultimate rest’. We went because that is where our diocese booked our conference, ‘Proclaiming the Faith Afresh’. Can you just imagine the scope for worship in Reds? I mean, talk about taking religion outside the box! But it worked. The Taizé worship times were conducted in Pinewood Studio, with a life-size, 3-D model of Frankenstein’s Monster raising his hands permanently towards to leader. And yet,
God was there.

The speakers were all phenomenal:
Elaine Storkey, Gavin Ashenden, Paul Bayes. Daily Bible study with David Coffey made me look at Paul’s sermon in Athens (Acts 17.16-34) from a totally different perspective. The fellowship with good friends (and a bunch of new ones!) was full of warmth, which more than made up for the cold and stiff Bognor sea breezes. We had fabulous dialogues, and workshops designed to let us explore the picture of today’s church and the directions in which God, not us, might be leading. The terms -- ‘emergent’ and ‘missional’ -- and the concepts they evoke are new to a lot of people within the Rochester Diocese. But we are a wonderfully diverse bunch and will move forward. We are impressed by the work Paul Meier is doing at Stocks Green Church – what a heart he has! John and I each belonged to our own fantastic cell groups – we need to get in touch with these encouraging new friends in Christ! The beauty of being involved in a diocesan conference is that all the friends you see and the new ones you make are not so far for a visit after the conference is over. This conference the Lord led us to was, indeed, a spot of ultimate spiritual rest! And cloaked, a bit, surely, in His humour: He sure can pick the venues!!

A second spot of ultimate rest, unfortunately, has been at home in bed for a week now. I finally went to the doctor yesterday, and got some serious meds. I want to get well really quickly, before the French blow their sick birds our way. Mayor Ken has already asked us to stop feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square. Well, that’s like asking someone in West Texas to stop stirring up all the dust! But this time has helped me to reflect on our imminent move further into Kent. And also try to make sense out of the English system of buying and selling property. I cannot, and may never, be able to figure this one out, but God is in the details. And at least the scenery while house-hunting is gorgeous!
Lots of swans, lots of pigeons …

The third spot of ultimate rest has been getting to be a part of a dear friend’s Bible study group, being in her home every fortnight. There are the sweetest ladies to get to know, and the spiritual insights coupled with my friend’s teaching from the Word has been so uplifting. I so wish more gals would come and be blessed (and bless us!).

But we could not meet this week, because several of us have become homing pigeons for this cruddy virus, sinus infections – or whatever it is likes us so much we can’t get it to leave!

As God is in the driver’s seat, my rest will be a while longer, because He’s at the wheel. And I won’t have to fight those dodgy roundabouts life can throw at us! Know what I mean?

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