06 June 2010

Hinchingbrooke - Celebration

The forecast had been for torrential rain, but it was merely cloudy when we met from 10:30. Numbers were low for a variety of reasons, but we soon got the BBQ under way and the food set out and then shared an enjoyable time, chatting in groups. Drilled and blasted rock faceSome of the younger ones took advantage of the dry weather and the extensive park to burn up spare energy.

Meeting afterwards there was a sense that Father was leading our thoughts along a theme. He showed us that his presence and direction are far more important than any amount of planning or effort on our part. If I do what I think, even if I do it well it will be of no value if it goes against his plans. But if I hear what he says and see what he does and do what I am told, the impact will be far greater.

Uli told us about a book that she had been reading that had had a big impact for her. Even talking about it was an emotional time for her. The story emphasised that what we do for the Lord is of little significance by comparison with what he does through us.  In particular, a little love is greatly prized by him as loving is the essence of his being.

Jim shared the story about last summer's camp. Again, it had been hearing and doing that succeeded, rather than setting our own goals and course. It had been a learning experience for us and this was one of the main lessons.

I explained how I'd read Jeremiah 52 and how Zedekiah and the people of Israel seemed to me representative of the church. Zedekiah was taken captive, his sons were killed (his future was taken from him) and he was forced to watch, then his eyes were put out and he was carried away to a foreign land and imprisoned. This is very much what happened to the church as she was adopted by the Roman state. She was taken captive, her future was taken from her, her vision was taken away, and she was carried away and her freedom was removed.

On the other hand in Jeremiah 52 we read that only the poorest and least significant were allowed to remain in the land of Israel. The wealthy and all those with influence were murdered or taken away, only the peasant farmers remained. Isn't this also true for the church? 'Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven' (Matthew 5:3).

Rupert shared pictures and interpretations for some of those present, this was very, very encouraging. Then Neil explained that we work with the Lord. For example, it's as if we drill a hole in the rock face and he fills it with explosive. Our part seems insignificant and by itself has almost no effect, but it's important and necessary. Sometimes we can't see how our part can make any impact on the problem, but when the charge is detonated we see that in doing our part we have facilitated something much more powerful! We shouldn't feel ineffective, we must do our part in faith and out Father will do the greater thing that was necessary.

Graham reminded us that we are treasures, he used his gold wedding ring as an example. As he spoke I understood that each of us is like a precious ring of gold, but we can't make our rings interlock, even as a chain. But he can interlock them, not just in a one dimensional chain, but in two dimensions. Like a chain-link fence or chain mail. Together, forged into a structure by him, we are much stronger and more impenetrable than we could ever be on our own.

We prayed for one another, based not particularly on 'ministries' or 'projects' but on the areas where we live and work. Neil mentioned that a net is stronger than it's weakest point because some of the strain is always taken by the many other available strands.

When the time came to pack everything away and tidy up we had the most torrential downpour. The sky just opened, there were one or two distant rumbles of thunder, and I was absolutely drenched to the skin simply loading the barbecue back in the car just a few yards from the building. But I didn't really care - it had been a wonderful afternoon!

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