Three years ago today – March 24th – having arrived in Oliva this was the first night we slept in our apartment. Three years on two books arrived today. Leaving us one clear focus, across Spain but so much of it focuses on the Communidad where we live (Valencia). Grateful for three years. Two timely books. Sharpening one focus.
Three years ago today – March 24th – we had arrived in Oliva and this was the first night we slept in our apartment. Boxes everywhere, not knowing what we would really be involved in but having found this place through by means of two dreams. Pursuing our understanding of the two dreams we had driven the geography that was in the dream over four days and were about to go back to Cádiz as we had found nothing that we connected with. Then right at the end when we were literally 7 kms from the end of the geography we felt this strange connection to where we now are. Then came the battle to buy the place… a timely phone call from Michael in Germany, a connection to one of the angels he described and within half an hour out of the blue the agent called saying ‘I don’t know what has happened but you now have your apartment.’
Three years so off to Gandia for a sushi lunch. A big celebration!
In the first couple of months of this year it has become clear that we are to focus on the ReConquista – the driving of the Muslims out of Spain. We believe there has to be repentance for this. Having got hold of a lot of information (thanks Noë in Calpe!) and adding to it with our own research we then were told of the book Blood and Faith by Matthew Carr that was originally published in 2010 but has now come out in paperback.
In April 1609, King Philip III of Spain signed an edict denouncing the Muslim inhabitants of Spain as heretics, traitors, and apostates. Later that year, the entire Muslim population of Spain was given three days to leave Spanish territory, on threat of death. In a brutal and traumatic exodus, entire families and communities were obliged to abandon homes and villages where they had lived for generations, leaving their property in the hands of their Christian neighbors. In Aragon and Catalonia, Muslims were escorted by government commissioners who forced them to pay whenever they drank water from a river or took refuge in the shade. For five years the expulsion continued to grind on, until an estimated 300,000 Muslims had been removed from Spanish territory, nearly 5 percent of the total population. By 1614 Spain had successfully implemented what was then the largest act of ethnic cleansing in European history, and Muslim Spain had effectively ceased to exist. “Blood and Faith” is celebrated journalist Matthew Carr’s riveting chronicle of this virtually unknown episode, set against the vivid historical backdrop of the history of Muslim Spain. Here is a remarkable window onto a little-known period in modern Europe – a rich and complex tale of competing faiths and beliefs, of cultural oppression and resistance against overwhelming odds.
Timely or what!!
Then a few days ago Stephen Hill emailed to say he was sending his commentary on John to us. In Chapter 12 he has a quote from me on a talk I gave ‘The Empire is over’. He quotes where I talk about Judas. The last part he quotes:
The Judas spirit is a spirit of betrayal. ‘But Lord if we do so and so, look how good you could be. Look how far you could go.’ That is the Judas spirit, but I believe God is going to take the Judas spirit out of the Church.’
The Judas spirit is that which knows better than Jesus the ways of the kingdom. It does not submit to the revelation that his kingdom is not of this world, otherwise his followers would have taken up the sword. Rather it takes up the sword on his behalf (and there are many swords from the literal one as per the Crusades and the ReConquista to the dehumanisation of those we objectify).
The two books arrived the same day. Up the stairs our delivery came. She left. We opened them and were deeply impacted reading the prefaces. The two books are related. The purity of the love of Jesus and how John experienced and perceived that; the Judas betrayal spirit of Empire.
Three years and two books! We are planning the year. This is the year for us to dig deep into the land of Spain. We were sent a dream a while back of someone watching as we pondered over invitations and different nations written on pieces of paper on a table. We thought long and hard, then responded with:
We will go talk with the man of Spain and he will tell us where we are to go.
This is what we are to do… indeed he has been calling for some time. We will begin (as far as we are aware) in and around Santiago… then comes Toledo… Granada is an obvious one (1492 and all that)… maybe Gibraltar is a necessary destination… maybe north Africa… but the book has opened our eyes to where we live. The expulsion post 1492 was highly ‘efficient’ in the communidad where we are, that of Valencia. Many (maybe some 300,000) were expelled violently being ripped up from their land.
Three years today. Very grateful and so much to say about these past 3 years. Two books… A lot of pages to read!! And a focus – many things we all should get round to doing, but to quote Paul (and take him out of context) we need to make sure that ‘this one thing we do.’