The Cramlington Adventure.
Returned yesterday (Weds.) from a four day trip to Cramlington in the North-East (is that right? lol) of England. Had an invitation from a group in the area to go and share and listen and connect our stories. Here was a group that had dismantled the construct called church so much that all that was left were relationships of substance, liquid gatherings of purpose and space to ebb and flow as and when the situations dictated. Wanting to see life as the God space; family, workplace, the streets. It was exciting to see a group of pilgrims relating yet free to pursue. As this was my first journey of connection for more than three years, and my first journey of walking this post-congregational walk, this invite was totally on the back of these blogs, I was very apprehensive and felt quite exposed sticking my head above the parapet. But I was so warmly welcomed and felt so at home to be myself and not feel the need to perform, that I soon felt part of the family. I think I am still on a journey of receiving the healing balm of God in so many areas, and the guys at Cramlington were a huge balm on my spirit. It renewed within me prophetic downloads I had received in the past, such as the strategic connection and conduits between Wales, the North-East and Scandinavia, so much so that I have renewed my prayers for an open door into Norway/Sweden. And for the first time for a few years I felt at liberty to release some personal prophetic words. I felt like a beginner again, but that is no bad thing. I want to remain an anointed amateur at all times, totally reliant on God’s safety net and not upon the gift that I could rely on to impress people. The day of being a performing seal has gone for me. I am free to be me. That was the heart of all that God placed within me while I was in Cramlington. These are days of new connections and re-connections. People of Cramlington I love you!!!! For receiving the prophets in the name of a prophet you shall receive a prophets reward (not my words). Here are three things I felt God downloaded into my spirit while I was there…
The Ancient Paths.
We need to hold an appreciation, and a right heart, of where we have come from.
While at Cramlington I was taken to some of the key places, this included a visit to Lindisfarne (The Holy Island) and a place called Lady’s Well. Lindisfarne was the place where Aidan, and later Cuthbert, released the Gospel into England, bringing with it a transformational aspect of education, and a release of Art, with the Lindisfarne Gospels. While on the Island we saw some Wild Geese fly over in formation, talk about a holy moment. To any Celt the Wild Geese hold great spiritual significance. Lady’s Well is a small spring, pool of water, in the middle of nowhere (the margins that God loves). Here Paulinus baptised 3000 people in one day. Where did they come from? While there we called for a cleansing of the waters, and while we were there men came to clean the waters, we called for those gatherings to happen again, and as we did a flock of birds gathered and circled overhead. A new St Francis anointing with animals? Why not!
In moving forward we cannot despise or judge our heritage, and that includes the church construct heritage that many of us come from or even still are a part of. Both David and Jesus lived in what was to come while still serving the old. Appreciating where they had come from. We have to walk forward in love, forgiveness, grace, healing. We cannot have an us and them heart. Anyone who is a pioneer walking in the new is prone to pride, I see it they don’t. Why can’t they get it? We need to be like Jesus and let our walk speak volumes. When we were part of churches we judged those who left or who were not part of churches, now it is so easy to judge those who are still part of churches, some of those our family members. We have been given some grace to see something, but let us have enough grace to see where others are too. It was not that long ago that we were standing where they are standing. Live in what is to come and serve the old.
The Modern Dance
Have a Loose Hold on Where we are.
Now is not the end of the journey. I think that is so important if not we just build a different model around where we are. We build temples rather that stay living in tents. We settle rather than pioneer. Now we gather around meals and in kitchens spontaneously planned but in the days ahead this might all change. Some dynamics of relationship will change. We will get to a place where we do not know who our members are, people will ebb and flow out of our physical lives and yet still be a part of us. We need to allow people to be sown into obscurity and hiddenness at times. Others will be sown into workplaces and sports-teams and music arena’s. Gatherings are going to take on a whole new dynamic. I love it that in Antioch in Acts the personnel was always changing. Some remained constant but others would come and go. New faces would enter the area. All were a part of one another. Never for a minute think we have arrived. There is still some way to go yet. Today is a great day but hold it loosely because the constant shift is the only constant. While In Cramlington it was like four seasons in four days. Why? The changing wind direction. Didn’t someone say the Spirit was like the wind? In four days we can blow in different directions, are we pliable enough for the wind?
The Future Vision
We need an open vision about where we are going.
We see but we are not dictated by. Now cancelled American series Flashforward was very interesting here. Due to some scientific experiment everyone on earth was knocked unconscious for a few moments and everyone had a glimpse of their futures. When everyone was conscious they all tried to discover this so called destiny that they had seen. And events then did take shape, but the underlying question was always were they making it happen or would it have happened anyway? Interesting as far as giving and receiving personal prophecy and the responsibility in that. Anyone who loves prophecy try and get hold of the DVD of the one and only first season, good stuff. But we need to see. We need to have our eyes opened. It is great to have words and direction and vision, without it we perish. But although we may interpret what we see we need to be open to interpretation. We only see through a glass dimly. Abraham saw it but never saw it. Moses saw it but never saw it. The prophets saw Jesus but never saw it. We too are called to be Seers but in seeing we need to realise we do not see it all. This is why perspectives are so important. I want to travel like Abraham. It says in Hebrews he saw from afar off and was assured and embraced what he saw, but he still went out not knowing where he was going. May that be our daily experience and our life walk. The day of the fundamentalists is over. We need to come in the opposite spirit, not authorising confusion, but willing to question and be wrong and change and never place a full stop anywhere. Leaving the story open to interpretation, just like Jesus did.
The destination ahead looks amazing. I wonder what it will look like!!!!
(With thanks, love and blessing to all those of Cramlington as they journey and discover God in many manifold ways. And others everywhere journeying in these exciting days.)