Last Saturday I attended the memorial service for my great uncle Oliver Barclay. This was to be yet another encounter with God and my narrative to add to the series I have had over the last couple of months. Everything from the speeches to the obituary in The Times seemed to reach deep within me bringing life, challenge and commissioning. If you care to read about him I’ll set up a couple of links, as for me I will be processing what his life means to me for a while. As I wrote on Saturday night, I have been left challenged, inspired and longing that my life will honour my Uncle Oliver and that like him in some way I would somehow build a platform worthy of the next generation.
It’s interesting because in the last couple of months one of the things that I have been pondering has been a sense that there is a massive job for all who would call ourselves Christ-followers, and it’s about to become urgent. But let me not get ahead of myself! Over the summer I spent more or less three weeks on retreat, I highly recommend it! It was the mark of 10 years since heading into full time ministry and living on gift income. I went to surrender everything back to God, to wipe the slate clean and let him draw the map for the next phase of my life. If you haven’t surrendered everything to God – every work, responsibility, every promise he has made to you – even the fulfilled ones, every gift and skill he has given you, everything you are invested in, everything…. I highly recommend it! The truth is that I am still in the process, each day there are new things to surrender and old things that I have picked up again and need to lay down at the foot of the cross once more. But it’s so freeing! So much easier to see clearly and to hear what he is saying.
Part of the process involved a growing hunger to just be with God, to see his face, to know him better, to wait and see what he has to say. He said many, many things, in many different ways, one thing confirming the other and building up to the next. I came away from my three weeks knowing one thing; whatever God has for me, for us, whatever it is he wants to do with us – in partnership – in our time, I, we, need to get to know him truly. We can’t rely on the revelation, the grace, the anointing that those who have gone before us had, or even our leaders have. Just as David said to his son – we have to get to know our God, truly, we need to worship him with a whole heart and a willing mind. Through the prophet Jeremiah God says to us – the only achievement that means any thing is that you truly know me and understand that I am the LORD and what I am like.
God is a person, three persons, he exists in relationship and he loves to be in relationship with us. He wants to walk with us, he wants to see things through our eyes and for us to see things through his eyes. He knows that when we are with him we become more who he made us to be, and that is for our good and for those around us. He knows that we become very like the things that we love, so he calls us to worship him, for our own good and the benefit of others. It’s as we walk with him, in relationship with him, we want to honour him and he directs our paths… we see his will unfolding and that means his Kingdom is coming.
(more about the massive job next week!)