Forward to the past
Forward to the Past.
Serene as it seems, watching the glorious sunrise over Lake Galilee was not my most treasured moment of that trip to Israel and Palestine …
The best moment came on a hill on the balcony of a little church next to the lake, marking the probable spot where the sermon on the mount was preached and taking that moment to read through the beatitudes and knowing this was me, that I was reading my heart. In the place where he had preached it 2000 years before this was my spiritual inheritance.
This was the journey’s end, a moment that could have stretched out into eternity, some call it Kairos. The moment means more to me in retrospect as I see the pieces of my life’s puzzle fall into place and the significance of certain moments step into their full glory.
I didn’t realise at the time what a spiritual desert I had put myself in and yet God spoke to me even then.
A week before we had been in the scorching heat of Jericho in a monastery in the area where Jesus had spent his 40days in the desert, alone in a little up stairs room I had read through the passages in Luke 4 about what Jesus endured and was struck by the first line… the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness… he was led to a place of hardship.
Sometimes God will lead us into the wastelands.
Is this Love? Yes. God wants our minds renewed, sometimes the only way we’ll see change and break through is in the desert.
Would flowers be a miracle on the banks of a stream? No. But blossom from parched and arid earth is something extraordinary, unexpected like peace in the middle of a storm.
When I try to untangle the mystery of Jesus’ humanity I can’t but when I listen to all he went through in those days in the desert I see God’s glory. When we choose the spiritual vision over the physical reality something breaks (I think its the power of the fear of death in our lives) and God is glorified. As Christians we are born again, but I often fail to walk in the reality of that and fears begin to define my life and circumstances dictate my emotions, yet the spiritual reality is life giving.
When we go through tough times our choices define who we become. I want to be transformed ‘from Glory to Glory’.
In the last days of that trip the beatitudes impassioned me in a new way because of all that I had seen and heard traveling through Palestine; the heartbreak layered with retaliation and inevitably more heartbreak, beautiful acts in the name of God, horrific acts in the name of God, and poor souls lost in the confusion.
Even in our own church history there is confusion and times when I know the Holy spirit has been deeply grieved.
‘That the church has with stood bad theology and survived is a testament to the goodness of God’ (Eric Johnson). I hope that we as a church can truly take hold of our spiritual inheritance, to stand as sons and daughters of the King of kings and to have his Love and truth define reality. To rebuild what organised religion has crushed, to be the Nehemiahs and restorers of our times.
I was reading proverbs 8 because of a picture I think God gave me for my sister and as I read I felt more and more excited about this scripture. It talks about wisdom being there in the formation of the earth, many people see this text also as a description of Jesus’ love and presence at the start of all things and the design of this world.
How beautiful. I Love this last verse, it makes me want to run along a beach shouting praise to God or give someone a big hug… to stand in his presence, to rejoice in his creation, in this world, his world, to delight in humanity…
surely this is what kingdom looks like?
If we are going to have sustainable revival, and by ‘revival’ I mean resuscitation of God’s perfect Love, healing and Joy in our world, we need to go back to the start, let our journeys end be the beginning of all things, the genesis of God’s original design. We see it in creation, we see it in Jesus…
God’s vision for this world.
The world was born with delight, praise and celebration.
I want this to be my reality; to delight in people with a thankful heart , to celebrate creation, and live a life of praise dwelling in the presence of God.
Let’s stand in our spiritual inheritance, when God breathed and creation began, at the side of Lake Galilee, on our front doorstep.
Let us step forward into the prophecies of the past.