04 July 2008

Walking around Huntingdon

The ring roadBack in the middle of May (Sunday 11th) I took part in a prayer time at Huntingdon. The intention was to have small groups of people at intervals around the ring road, praying for the town and for the surrounding area. Not many turned up on the day and I decided that the best thing to do was to walk round the entire circuit.

As I walked I found myself caught up in a conversation with the Lord, it was amazing. Things I saw along the way prompted questions and the answers kept on coming. Often there were words that seemed to come without prompting too. I jotted it all down.

Daisies in the grass
The sun was shining and I came to a patch of grass liberally sprinkled with daisies. So beautiful.

And the Lord said...

As the daisies cover the grass in summer, so will my people cover the earth.

And I prayed, 'If you command it, Lord, it shall be done.' What he says always happens, his voice alone is sufficient cause and his word is always effective.

Restoration is coming
The Spirit reminded me of Acts, chapter 1. Jesus told his disciples, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you in a few days.' One of them asked him if this was the time for the restoration of Israel. He told them not to worry about the what or the when, all they needed to know was that he was sending them to the ends of the earth and his Spirit would be on them.

It seems we are still in this mode of operation, the Church is supposed to go to the ends of the earth and the Spirit of Christ is on us. We are not to be concerned about anything else, really. That seems pretty straightforward, doesn't it? Where are the 'ends of the earth'? They are Huntingdon, here wherever I am, if you are a believer they are wherever you are, and his Spirit is on you. You may not think so, it might not feel like it - but it's true. The church is to become like those daisies - sprinkled liberally everywhere. Beautiful.

Inside and outside
As I walked on I found myself thinking about the town inside the ring road and the countryside and villages being outside.

And the Spirit spoke to me...

What is inside the ring road is inside, what is outside is outside. I have come to bring life in fulness to all who will receive it - inside the city and in the countryside too.

The word 'city' interests me because Huntingdon is a market town, not a city. Perhaps 'city' hints at the Church, some are in the church and others are not. Does this mean that he's come to bring fulness of life to everyone? To all who will receive it? Many in the Church think they already have it, but it's on offer to all.

One direction
The traffic always flows clockwise around the ring road. Huntingdon is not a large town so the ring road is quite small and it's not necessary to have a multi-lane highway. It doesn't take long to drive right around it.

And the Lord said...

As the traffic flows around, always in the same direction, and as the people in the world are all moving in one direction (to oblivion), so I am there saying, 'Come to me all who are struggling with life. Rest is in me, peace is in me, life is in me and only in me.

I am with you
I stopped from time to time to pray as there were not enough of us to pray everywhere at once.

And he said...

Wherever you stop and pray - I am with you.

I don't think he was just talking about me, or just about Huntingdon. But whenever we pray we involve him in what we are doing.

Focusing on a particular need
The Spirit said to me...

Just by asking you bring my power to focus on a particular point, a particular need. Nothing you ask is wasted or goes unnoticed. It is all precious, it is all gathered and productive, it all touches my heart.

Expecting more
He told me...

I do not do what you expect, I do what I expect which is much better. You ask for a person, but I grant an army. You ask for a flower but I grant a field full of flowers. Always expect to receive more than you ask, better than you can imagine.

I forgot my hat
It was a hot, sunny day and as time passed I began to regret not having brought my hat. I didn't mind the heat but I wondered if I'd end up with sunburn on my forehead and the back of my neck. A row of trees protected me for a while, and then there was a long gap with more trees in the distance. But just as I reached the gap a cloud covered the sun and the shade lasted until I reached the next section of trees.

The Lord said to me...

When you forget your hat I will send a cloud or a row of trees. The heat will not burn you up or harm you for I am your Shelter and your Shepherd.

He was reminding me that he cares about even the smallest detail of our lives. Too much sun is not a good thing, though it's hardly a big issue in the grand scheme of things. But the Almighty cares about us on a much deeper level than that, so the cloud and the trees are a reminder to me that he will always protect his people spiritually. He will cover us and shelter us.

Wasteland
Bare soilAs I continued around the ringroad, I came to an area that had been churned up by mechanical diggers. Their tyre marks were everywhere and there was hardly a blade of grass or healthy plant to be seen. There was a great pile of earth close to the road. What a mess!

And the Lord said...

Even when the landscape looks like a pile of barren earth, I will turn it into shady glades of green with a stream of pure, cold water and the songs of a thousand birds - for I AM life.

Sitting in the sun
Next I came to a place where there was a man sitting in the sunshine on the doorstep of his home. I crossed the road so that I could speak with him. I told him that I was walking around Huntingdon praying for the town and the people living there, and I asked him if he'd like me to pray for him in any way. He told me, no, but he thanked me for stopping and asking.

The Police Station
I stopped at the Police Station and explained to the guy on duty what I was doing. I asked him if he'd like me to pray for anything in particular; for himself or for the Police in general.

He told me that they were quite overworked just recently and said that he'd be very grateful if I'd pray for them in a general way. I told him that I'd pray for the officers and for their families too.

Small numbers don't matter
Thinking again about the small number of people who turned up for this prayer time, I became aware of the Lord saying to me, 'What counts is not your numbers but your obedience.'

Litter and trees
Next was an area where some litter had been dropped and was blowing around in the breeze. There were also some young saplings nearby, growing vigorously and swaying gracefully with the movement of the air.

And the Spirit said...

People drop litter, I grow trees. I will not do what you do, and you cannot do what I do. Concentrate on being my people, I'll do the doing. You be - I'll do.

Litter is dead, dropped paper rots away and releases the carbon it's made from. But trees are alive, they absorb carbon and construct wood from it. And wood is the raw material from which we make paper. And so it seems that if I am busy doing something I will be working in one direction, but when the Lord works everything is going in the opposite direction. What I do is death, what he does is life. What I do is breaking down, what he does is building up.

How many people?
Then he suddenly put a question into my mind.

Do you know how many people have passed by while you were walking around Huntingdon? I do! And I know who is mine; and I care for all my sheep.

Monumental mason
I was now getting close to the place where I began my walk. I passed the office and workshop of William Peacock who are stone masons making gravestones and memorials. As I was thinking about this, Father said,

Will you make a monument for me or one for yourself? I don't need a monument, and neither do you for you belong to me and your life is in me.

The road and the woodland
The road and the woodlandWhile I was passing a small piece of woodland he said to me...

The road is of man, but the life is in me.

If men and women suddenly disappeared from the earth and you could come back 100 years later and look, would the road be encroaching into the woodland or would the woodland be recapturing the road? Life wins! It really does. Here too, there is a spiritual lesson for those with eyes to see.

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