WORDS, PICTURES AND ALL THAT JAZZ….
It’s either prophecy or an over-active imagination.
By the end of this blog, you decide which you think that it might be…..
Last week I shared a bit of what PCC had been discussing and some of the things that are on stream. They included diversity and moving Christ Church to being actively anti-racist; exploring sexuality and marriage; refurbishing the church interior for his glory; reluctantly reducing our contribution to the Diocese in the face of reduced income streams; celebrating the start up of ministry and mission; finding ways to encourage existing teams and recruit more volunteers.
That’s what we have been up to.
But what has God been up to?
I’d like to share some of what I have had the privilege to be involved in recently and offer it to you. I welcome your wisdom and discernment.
Revival Prayer – started with Chuk saying (again) “we need to pray”. “You, me, Wednesday nights, 7pm. We will be there and others can join”. My response took him aback a little having got used to the “yes we must get round to that” response. To be honest my answer maybe took me back a little too. My model was the Principal of the theological college I attended. She did that every month – 7pm til midnight. “I will be there praying, all are welcome to join for as long as you might like to”. And she did. Every month.
We have met twice so far (third time this evening). The first night we prayed for protection for there was a sense that the good stuff that was happening was attracting the attention of the enemy. We prayed into Romans 12 …be transformed, test his will, do not think more highly of yourself, then a series of commands in v9-21 – sincere love. Then a prophecy from Joel 3 – multitudes in the valley of decision (v14) – there is a decision to be made; the Lord will roar and they will tremble but he will be their refuge. We closed by praying through Ephesians 6 and the armour of God and noted the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.
None of this was prepared, we just waited on him and sought his conviction to share.
The following week we started with repentance and Chuk led us in Psalm 51 and that “my sacrifice is a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart”. Then it started to get interesting. And just a little unusual. You may remember the picture of the dam in the church which was bursting with water and ready to break through and flow out of the church doors into Purley. That was a picture that came to me very strongly on my first day in post as Vicar. It resonated with a picture that others had 9 or 10 years ago. Now, that picture in my minds eye was looking from the car park side of the church towards the dam wall itself. That Wednesday prayer we were in the chancel, at the other end of the church. We were musing about the idea of flowing water.
Where does this water come from?
Revelation 22 came to mind – “the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the lamb, down the middle of the great street of the city” (v1). To my right was the table for communion, now installed in the chancel under the stained glass windows showing Jesus’ life.
As I looked back down the church from the chancel to the doors into the car park (and into the community of Purley), I could see the position of the dam but from the other side. It wasn’t just God’s water behind a dam, I could see that the dam was stopping the water. It’s supposed to be flowing out the door but there is something stopping it.
After prayer and discussion we could not fathom what this was (but one of us had a picture of Jesus with a big sledgehammer!!)
14:26 – on Sunday evening we met for a rescheduled evening service in the 14:26 format; this is inspired by 1 Corinthians 14:26 “When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.” Jude shared some musings on Jehoshephat who in the face of vast armies looked not to the problem but up to the solution…he prayed.
I shared a picture of God’s people being mind, body and soul referencing Matthew 22:37. All three are intertwined and make up you and I but while the mind and the body can easily be drawn to the problems of this world, ““The soul seeks God with its whole being. Because it is desperate to be whole, the soul is God-smitten and God-crazy and God-obsessed. My mind may be obsessed with idols; my will may be enslaved to habits; my body may be consumed with appetites. But my soul will never find rest until it rests in God.” In the face of danger and distress, Jehosephat’s soul took over.
We need to pay attention to our souls.
Please set aside some time this week to listen to your soul. To direct yourself to God. To pray into the removal of any blockages there might be to the flow of living water from the throne of God and of the lamb. That the picture, long held, of water gushing out from Christ church into the community of Purley might become a reality.
I offer all this to you for your encouragement and blessing.
Let me know what God might be saying to you.