Tuesday, October 11, 2011

11th October

Well that did me good, I feel quite happy today. I’d begun to wonder if I could ever properly enjoy life again and now I know… the answer has to be yes! 25 years ago I belonged to a church that was working it’s way through the minefield of corporate renewal and for all sorts of reasons we suddenly found ourselves without a building to meet in. There were over 80 of us trying to gather on a Sunday and for two weeks we tried fitting into somebodies home, but the neighbours didn’t like it and the press got involved so that didn’t work well. Anyway we then met outdoors for around 4 months on the local playing fields which was quite a challenge. And the obvious thing was that on many occasions we had to pray quite determinedly about the typical English weather. But God answered those prayers by keeping us just about dry throughout that summer and I can remember quite clearly seeing the heavy laden rain clouds surrounding the bright patch of sunshine that we were standing in for our time of worship. I’ve played guitar in worship teams in almost every type of church building and denomination, in schools, in village halls, in tents on parks, inside and outside pubs, on the back of a lorry and even our city Assembly Rooms with a thousand in the congregation… but my favourite venue has always been out of doors and I actually don’t mind if I’m all alone, although I don’t go busking. I love it and was almost disappointed when our church found an available building to use.

Now where was I before the reminiscing took hold of me? Yes, I’m happy and today I enjoyed my longest walk for many years and feel like I’ve achieved something. The Malvern Hills claim a long history of connections with some quite creative people… the composer Edwin Elgar and the poet W H Auden lived around here. And authors J R R Tolkein and C S Lewis sought their own inspiration walking these very hills discussing their likeness to 'The White Mountains of Gondor'. But back to today, the weather took on it’s own interesting pattern which reminded me of the outdoor church experience. Only in reverse. I left some quite reasonable weather to drive only a few miles to the British Camp – an Iron Age fortification – only to find myself in semi-darkness. For the whole of my walk, and only the walk, bright sunshine was clearly visible but always in the distance and on both sides. Nonetheless I felt really good and actually caught myself singing as I walked along with a spring in my step. The 7 mile hill walk left me aching a bit on return though. But I did feel that the Lord was saying something to encourage me. My life is overshadowed with grief at the moment, that’s not wrong, indeed there is a good deal of living and walking with the Lord to be ‘enjoyed’ wherever we find ourselves. I can still sing his praise, but as I keep walking eventually I’ll find myself back in the sunshine where not only will all be well, but also all will feel well.

And a noisy military plane has just disturbed Matt Redman and my background music which reminds me that I too am a man under discipline.

Mark 11:23 ‘But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.’ (NLT)

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