All of creation

Many will have seen this video of the buffalo showing up at Standing Rock. To say it is moving is an understatement. In the wilderness not only did angels show up for Jesus, but he was also there ‘with the wild animals’ (Mark’s version). Creation care is not an optional extra. Angels and animals both can find their place as we are positioned rightly.

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Traditional values or valuing tradition?

Sunday morning and a good few reads. Chapter 1 of NT Wright’s new book ‘The Day the Revolution began’. How can anyone with his size of brain write so well? Yesterday I read Deborah Chapman’s must-read blog on Peregrenatio. Today Gayle read a certain wonderful pastor’s comments of his participation on the Camino and how he is always on a camino. And part of that understanding was that it was a camino to ‘church’. Many stops along the way at ‘church’.

So I am reflecting on the above three reads. Deb’s of course I liked!!

It shows at once how misleading is that word “pilgrimage” as we use it and how very different indeed is the Celtic peregrinatio from the pilgrimages of the Middle Ages or the present day. There is no specific end or goal such as that of reaching a shrine or a holy place that allows the pilgrim at the end of the journey to return home with a sense of mission accomplished. Peregrinatio is not undertaken at the suggestion of some monastic abbot or superior but because of an inner prompting to those who set out, a passionate conviction that they must undertake what was essentially an inner journey. Ready to go wherever the Spirit might take them, seeing themselves as hospites mundi, “guests of the world,” what they are seeking is the place of their resurrection, the resurrected self, the true self in Christ, which is for all of us our true home.

This suits me down to the ground. I am convinced it is the right approach!

I would be very up to participating in the camino, and would get something from the traditional route of the pilgrims across the north of Spain. I would probably even stop in one of those church buildings (important that second word there for me!) and reflect, drawing back on history. In Wright’s book his deep appreciation of classic music and history is very clear. His rather dismissive comment on the song ‘I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sins upon that cross’ as a contemporary jingle confused in theology and lacking in rhyme, is the equal and opposite dismissive response I have to so much tradition.

So why when I read Wright I agree, agree, agree, can see a point or two he makes about tradition then go another way all-together? Why can I mentally agree that walking the camino could be a good thing but really want to walk a path that has not been marked out before? Now before all the comments that it is something to do with my immaturity, let’s just settle that as a given. But beyond that?

Is it a personality issue? (Oh and by the way why has a number 8 never written a book on the enneagram? Even to suggest that indicates a level of reflection that even frightens me.) Is it a cultural background issue? An educational background factor?

The annoying part is of course the ‘God-part’. God shows up where he really should not. If he did not show up in the traditional settings guess how strong my argument would be. Imagine if no-one got touched by the ritual but really were impacted where the ‘contemporary jingles’ were sung? And I guess those who meet him in the tradition feel equally in the opposite direction. We can write everyone off who is opposite to us. However, I guess God just keeps on coming wherever there is the possibility of a meaningful connection. And meanwhile the challenge for the likes of me is to find God where I have never found him before, and let him find me, or maybe better find me out where I have closed the door to him. Bottom line I will keep trying to spell the words ‘ritual’ and ‘tradition’, but probably won’t be ready to do a spelling test any time soon.

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Madrid – Gayle’s perspective

Well, great days in Madrid, and though we’ve left without a second base this time, we are content! It feels like we are part of the city now. And as per my dream it feels like we are so close to finding that place. We remain open to all kinds of ideas regarding a property: sharing, renting, renting just a room or owning, also waiting for one with a view out or being happy with one we can make work… So the journey continues. The specific zone where we want to be we are well familiar with now and helpfully or unhelpfully we have zoned in on a small number of streets.

During our short week in Madrid we met with an eclectic number of individuals with diverse backgrounds. In fact each time we are in Madrid we seem to become involved in unplanned ways in people’s lives. Maybe it’s just that kind of city or maybe it is a sign of what we are to be there. Flexible and able to respond to what arises and somehow to see destiny released. It is a small gift to a large city but two loaves and five fishes went a long way and our prayer is to serve this beautiful nation.

Jesus StandingToday there will be a huge protest. The protest organisers have asked the EU to send observers as a protective measure against violence. There is such anger, distress and poverty here and the elites who have continued to rule since Franco’s era seem untouched by this and at times untouchable. Our prayer is for peace but not the kind of peace that maintains the status quo. Not the kind of peace that turns a blind eye.

So while we ponder the things that are rocking around here, in the rest of Europe, in the UK and in the States I like to remember a statue in a small plaza that struck us the other day as we were walking through. We were praying and I spoke out loud the words Ah Jesus, and on looking up there he was. Quietly standing, many passing him by, head bowed in the prayer, love one another.

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Madrid #5

I am writing each post reflecting on the day before. Nothing to see apartment wise yesterday. The agent who ‘had many apartments in the area and will get back to you’ did not get back to us. I suspect he has done what we did and scoured the internet. The way things work here are there are a few sites that most people advertise their property on, and most people place the ad on more than one site. It is even possible to find it on different sites at different prices. If the latter and the contact is made privately it can even lead to a conversation along the lines of ‘where did you see it? and what price was it at?’ That then determines the negotiating price. Agents trawl these sites, or walk the streets looking for a ‘se vende’ sign. They then phone the private number and offer to take the property on. A property can be on a number of sites and with more than one agent. We have had it where we asked to see a property and the agent does not know where the keys are, or it is still on their books but has actually been sold. All wonderfully chaotic. Hence my guess is that the agent with many properties in the area actually has none and not been able to find any suitable. However, shortly another day begins and maybe emails and phone calls will kick in.

Agents 0 Dream 1

Then to help us Gayle says, around 4.00am, ‘are you awake?’ I am awake, she says ‘I have just had a dream.’ Dreams are very key to us so here is the dream with only a couple of smaller details removed:

We are driving in our van to a destination. Using the GPS we arrive and discover that we already know the area. We park in front of the house thinking this is the destination. I get out and get a bag out of the van. Then Gayle looks up and sees a number 2 on the door, we need to be at number 1. Gayle says we need to move over there, and suggests I move the van and she will wheel the luggage round there. We are really close. Gayle realises in the dream that this house we need has connections to – jumping out of the dream for a moment – someone that while she has been dreaming I have been thinking about and their context while I was lying awake!

In putting the dream out there of course I realise we could now get stacks of interpretations, and maybe need them, but in sharing this journey openly and given that dreams have been very important for us, I will lay out where we are focusing given this dream. First there is too much in it for it to be simply ‘an interesting dream’. Given the context of Gayle dreaming and I am focused on my connection with the person she mentions by name to me, we take note. So:

The other day we viewed a property that we thought we could make work for us, and it was the second property we have thought that about. Dream-wise we arrived at house with the number 2 on it. We had both felt that we should for now hold tight, that there is a third property to come that will be the ‘one’. The dream seems to confirm this, and that we are really close, just as it was right around the corner. At one level we expected in the dream we would move on to the property with the number 3 on it but rather we move to the one with the number ‘1’ on it. It certainly does not mean moving to the first property we saw some months back, but as I wrote above it is the ‘one’. There is also an element of connecting with aspects from something earlier – the people that the house had a connection with probably indicate this and they indicate some aspects of the purpose of the place, or at least some of the purpose of being in Madrid.

So once we are fully awake and the city is functioning we will check emails and see what has come in overnight. We plan to go home today, and only have the apartment booked till 12 noon, but if something comes in we might opt to stay. We are really close so need to stay focused ready for whatever comes. Thankful for dreams!

Come on Spain – the future calls you!

The other aspect of being here is that this is a big week with respect to a new government being formed. Currently 500 armed police have been appointed to the government building, and there will be some significant protests that will hit the streets – one certainly planned for Saturday. A web site has a list of points should one get arrested. There is in Spain a ‘citizen’s law’ which ws passed to protect the citizens (government’s interpretation) but is called the ‘gagging law’ by the people. Hefty fines can be imposed and a certain level of authoritarian abuse is sanctioned. The site has such advice as ‘make sure there are people who can track you at all times should you be arrested’, ‘put a password on your phone’, ‘have all photos uploaded to the cloud’. Tough times for the police (I like right authority in place, the most important part of a soccer match being the referee) but especially tough times for the ordinary person. The EU has ‘reminded’ Spain that a 5.5bn euro cut is to be made in its budget as soon as the new government is in place. Those cuts do not affect the wealthy.

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Madrid #4

We viewed another apartment yesterday, first floor, would need some work on it. Living area space 11ft x 8ft. We could make it work but holding off for now. Why holding off? Maybe the sober realisation of a commitment to a decade or more is greater than that of a week… Sober realisations are good, it is what one does as a result that is key. Maybe we are holding off as there is something yet to come our way. Thank God it is not a tight rope of ‘have to get it right’, but we have always lived in what appears to be for us the key place. Our first place in Spain was on what we plotted later as a main ley-line across Palma, on that line was the removal of the first Francoist monument in Spain, the upside down church and a host of other monuments. So for now we are holding out.

We had the appointment at 12.10 and the agent called to say he would be late. He was held up because of a protest. We could hear the protest so were well aware of it. By the time he arrived there was someone else there for her 12.30 appointment. I wonder if she is holding off? Believing God has a place for her and a place for us. Contentment (biblically) is the only legitimate bag in the process.

When we left the apartment we are renting in the evening to meet up with a guy we have got to know whose whole situation has turned round over the past 2 years of knowing him, we walked out and recognised a green tie. The green tie is the ‘uniform’ of a particular estate agent. He was standing outside the apartment making a phone call. So we talked with him and gave him our details (I think the sixth time we have given them our details!!!! – all without phone calls back!!!!) and what we are looking for and where. Was this a God-connection?

Last night we went again to the Congress building. This time all the streets were cordoned off by police so we could only stand at the end of the street but pray we did. We are still pulling for something to shift that will pull Spain forward. If things just go as they are expected to then the resolution of 10 months of stalemate will take place this weekend, the press noting it will take place the weekend that the clocks in Spain go back an hour. The irony is not missed by them – Spain goes back. The dream of the see-saw indicated that amidst all the swings each year it would still swing back to the status quo. However, we are pulling for something that will be noteworthy, so our shoes are back on today…

The manifestation yesterday was very strong and very moving. The government said 1,200 involved, the organisers 60,000! As it was organised around the cuts to education my vote is that the educationalists are better at counting. (Across Spain as a whole probably around 200,000 students were on the streets.) The main street from Atocha station was packed and seeing the street packed I am sure there were 10s of thousands present. We had time to see the manifestation before our delayed apartment appointment and after. Gayle, maybe with her background in teaching, was deeply moved by the voice of the youth calling for opportunity. The streets resound to singing and shouting, dancers indeed dancing upon injustice. We are sure if the clock does not go forward that the streets will again become very loud in Spain. Here a photo from Madrid. Wish I could add some sound…

Madrid Students

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Madrid #3

Day 3. Down to parliament building, the TV cameras all lined up for any breaking news. We pull one more time for a shift that will herald something extraordinary. Spain has to lead the way in something new in Europe. We have discovered that there are likely to be a number of street protests against not just the investiture of the new government but of the continuing austerity cuts. We lay our prayers out there, then my phone goes and I read a very apologetic text from someone we got to know a couple of years back. Back then he had no work, little hope and somewhat depressed, but thank God has picked up some construction work since. Over that time he has also gone through seasons when he had no money for daily food. Very apologetic he asks for some money to tide him over till the beginning of the month – the first time he has ever asked. He is one person with some work… what about the many who have no work and no support? We see some on the streets but in reality have no idea how many and how they are doing.

These are the reasons we need something to shift. Job creation, dignity, humanisation. Values that resonate with Scripture.

We have pondered a lot about the Pauline gospel that he began to get some insight to at the gates of Damascus, not in his own ethic and religious cultural context. Over three days his eyes are opened physically and spiritually in Damascus. The years that follow his feet and prayers entered the fabric of the then known world and extended as far as Spain. In the land here are first century apostolic prayers. The apostolic message disturbed the status quo (‘turned the world upside down’, ‘proclaimed a king other than Caesar’) and the seeds of that message breaking through the surface of the land will again disturb the status quo. Public leaders will again be positioned as public servants, indeed as servants of God.

The kingdom of God is not as simple as a reordered society, a fulfillment of some utopian dream, but if the reign of God is incompatible with oppressive rulership we should anticipate very significant shifts in society that bear some resemblance to the values of heaven.

The church is not the kingdom; a better world is not the kingdom. Yet I consider it is the church’s responsibility to be in some measure a manifestation of the kingdom (light), and to be the invisible means by which the wholesome humanitarian values of heaven spread throughout society (yeast). I am increasingly convinced that truly seeing humanity is such a key to understand who God is, for after all until the Incarnation how was God to be really known? God spoke in small phrases, broken sentences, until the Incarnation (Heb. 1). I think there is a measuring stick – the Incarnation, the humanising of our world – that helps us see if there has been an advance of the kingdom. We might not be able to say ‘this is the kingdom’ but surely we can say ‘the kingdom is advancing’. We have been taught to (rightly) read the conversion of people as an evidence, we also need to understand the more we we see people being humanised that we are witnessing another evidence of the kingdom advancing. A few days ago I read Steve Chalke saying ‘Treating refugees as a problem is the problem.’ People, people movements are not the problem. Dehumanising people is the problem. Any time we see that we know we have a problem. It is for these reasons, with all their weaknesses, the potential return to the streets might just be a sign that the kingdom is advancing.

We view another apartment today at an appointed hour. Yes, I think they will show up! We will also return to the congress building. We are cosy here in our one-week rental but would like something a little bigger – below a panoramic view of our current lounge (11ft x 9ft / 3.4m x 2.7m and is about 60% of the entire apartment):

Lounge

Madrid. Such a quiet block of flats or so it would seem when we moved in, then at 1.00am last night till 6.00am this morning somewhere in the building, or possibly the next building there are a group holding a conversation… the downside 5 hours long and at Spanish volume. No one shouting, just loud. Years ago I asked a neighbour why they always spoke so loud. Why when on their cell / mobile phone everyone could hear their conversation. His reply: ‘Let me ask you a question. What do you think we think when you and Gayle are talking to each other and we can’t hear your conversation?’ I replied that I didn’t know what they were thinking. He said, ‘We think you must be talking about us and hiding what you are saying by talking so quietly.’ Culture!!! But 1.00am to 6.00am? Culture? Maybe if we just pull harder for there to be an evidence of an advancing kingdom that they might just go to bed at the right time. Maybe the evidence will be of a less-inconvenienced life for me. Or maybe I am missing it somewhere!!

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Madrid #2

So our appointment yesterday? Oh yes, ‘My uncle will meet you at 11.00am in the doorway.’ Pretty clear. We wait till 11.10 and then a few calls later we finally get a return call – around 11.30 – ‘Ah yes no one is turning up as we have just sold the property.’ A property that had been on the market for a while. A different way to do business! Then later in the day – a return call from another agent. ‘Sorry can’t see that apartment, the owner is out of the country for 4 months and we don’t know where the keys are.’ A different approach! And out of the country for four months – maybe… maybe for 10 months… maybe not really on the market. Over the past few years we have had so many wonderful different responses. And that agent? ‘What are you looking for and where?’ He then says we have many properties so will get back to you, which being interpreted is – leave it with me I will search through Idealista, Segunda Mano and a few others and see if I can convince someone to allow me to show you a property. Nice one, though over the past few years Gayle (she is way better than me at that) has scanned some 1500 properties that way. So we don’t hold our breath for a quick response!!

This is the fun of our journey at this stage. Strangely we really feel we are in the right rhythm, right place and right time (and maybe of course totally self-deceived as well!). Today it hit us the parallel to our entry – coming in with a confirmed reservation for the car park, a blank look on the attendant’s face as he told us all the places had gone, but give me the keys and I will find a parking place. Kind of not a straight line, but who wants straight lines (canals vs. rivers?).

Congress

What we do know is we need to walk the parliament area (Congress building above) and pray probably each day while here. We are pulling for something very noteworthy these days. It is not about right / left, but about a shift in some of the historic roots that have covered over corruption. How about a main government party that has had just shy of 7000 major crises in its 40 year history? Or destroyed all the computers that the court subpoenaed with respect to a case exposing the use of two parallel accounts – one legal and one illegal? There is something wrong – see the discerning gift really kicked in there!!! If we want a cleaner land we cannot be quiet while this is covered over, and the bizarre element of that particular party increasing its percentage of the votes each time. So while looking for property and loving the city we also will make sure that we allow some good space to aim a kick or two in the right direction. Though the kicking analogy is probably wrong. We had an email yesterday that we were to pull out a tap-root that is historic with regard to the politics in Spain. So our hope is while the elected members will be voting these next days on the possibility of a minority government we are looking for a sign that becomes newsworthy to mark that, although there are swings back to the status quo, that those days are over. We returned also to the place where in Jan 2015 a declaration was made that ‘this was the year of change for Spain’. Of course that was primarily a political statement. Ours is calling for the seeds of the apostolic (Pauline) gospel to impact Spain. And that apostolic gospel has political implications. What great days to be alive. So no worries about a car in a car park, or apartments already sold, or owners out of the country. There are bigger issues.

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Madrid #1

We drove up here yesterday. Love the chaos of cities. Arrive at the long-term parking with our reservation. Sorry full!! Leave us the keys and we will find somewhere to park it.

Arrived and the news breaks that the socialist (though not sure they can authentically claim that term) decided to abstain thus allowing the conservative PP government to be formed again. Truly the politics in Spain is shaking and old historic shapes are being broken. So we are here at a good time to go to the parliament building and make a few declarations.

Anyway our main purpose in coming is to see if we can find a place to live. I will post more as the week goes on. We are currently renting an apartment 17×11 feet. That is the whole place. No outside window, and inside we get a kitchen and living space, a bedroom and a shower. Cosy!!! Did not realise it was quite this small – and to think we suggested that people join us: come to Madrid while we are there we are sure we can fit you in. Apologies Noel & Tricia, Simon & Amy!!!!

These cities are a wonderful challenge. Maybe the buildings are a reflection of the spiritual?

 

Madrid roofs

The screenshot is the area where we are staying, and the apartment with the pin in it we will be viewing at 11.00am. Looks luxurious – it has outside windows!!

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Prayer in Washington

Jerry Cartwright (Eureka, CA) let me know about a gathering of First Nations that took place yesterday. (Here is a link to alltribesdc.org.) Gathering in DC to release forgiveness:

We stand in the gap for those who are unable or unwilling to forgive, and call upon the Master of Life, to forgive us for harboring un-forgiveness, resentment, hatred, bitterness and rage; We repent of every curse spoken over America by our ancestors and we release the power of forgiveness to bring healing and the peace of Creator God to this land.

We declare and decree that our voice will no longer by silenced and that this nation and the world will hear our voice as we speak life and blessings over the Americas and the world.

In 2004 I with others from the UK, and with great support from friends (including Jerry) in the US walked the West Coast from Oregon to San Francisco, with one of the highlights being prayer on ‘Indian Island’ (with apologies for the name) with some immediate results. Some years prior to that I had a dream where an angel took me to a room and showed me a map of North America and across the land was written one European nation after another. (There was no border as we have today.) I understood deeply that we had raped the land, and the sins of the children are our sins.

I also followed the work of Wiconi International and although I never met Richard Twiss had some correspondence with him before his premature death. I am a strong believer that for restoration to take place, we need to see a restoration of the first nation peoples. This is not about going back, but about moving forward on a clean foundation.

When, as took place in Washington, those wronged forgive they have extraordinary power to release blessing. It was David who said to the wronged Gibeonites, ‘What must we do so as you will bless us’. Blessing is in the hands of those wronged.

These events should be provoked by repentance on the side of the oppressors and I am thankful for the many who have repented. However, if the church continues to embrace (be silent on) racism, and dehumanise other ethnic peoples (other faiths) the blessing that comes as the result of such First Nations forgiveness might indeed release more than we realise. It might, and I consider will, release the false cover over the root issues that have plagued the church – the colonialism. In other words a mess will be revealed, not a mess created but the revelation of what was already there.

In 2005 I was burdened to prophecy that the next two elections in a certain nation would leave many believers confused, and if they could not embrace the result of the first one the second would appear tougher for them. I then said the outcome would not create the confusion but simply reveal the confusion that was already there. (I am not lost and confused while driving and I suddenly realise I dont know where I am, that experience is simply the realisation I was lost earlier while thinking I was doing OK.)

So in reality I anticipate a wonderful uncovering to be the blessing released on the Americas and Europe. All such blessings must come first to the priestly responsible nation.

So a huge thank you to all First Nations people. Your humility humbles and also embarrases us.

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The one-two step

The biblical narratives seem to contain wisdom and insight beyond the story they tell. I read this article: an interview with the authors of Bully Nation. So much that we as Europeans are guilty for in our history and sowing the seeds for the worst of the Western world. The authors push to expose how militarised capitalism allows for, even encourages the hero as the bully, even to the extent that

They are not “sick” or maladjusted or “under-socialized;” they are rather already well adjusted to the larger system and don’t need therapy to become further adjusted.

As I read the article I thought back to Genesis 3 and 4. (I do not take these as literal and do not think the Bible gives any indication that we are meant to do that.) The first sin seems to me to be that of refusing to live within the most generous of boundaries. Eat whatever… except for the fruit of one tree. The boundaries could not be more generous. Not a set of 600+ nor even of a mere 10 restrictions. One restriction – and there has to be restrictions, there has to be boundaries, and we read of the most generous approach possible: one boundary. The language is strong and very poignant for our society: I saw, desired and consumed. In those words we have the transgression, the crossing of boundaries, that we can apply across the board, highlighting the centrality of the ‘forgive us our trespasses’ request in the disciples’ prayer. And not simply a request but a conditional one – ‘as we forgive those who trespass against us’. Boundaries, but generous boundaries. Boundaries that are lived in to give others life and contribute to the release to their boundaries. Boundaries crossed and the result is – in the extreme – the ‘second’ sin of Scripture, the taking of life (Cain and Abel). Murder is that second sin pushed to the extreme, but the same sin in a lesser form will take life from someone else. ‘For this reason many are sick and some have even died’, Paul could write. And the context: one of boundaries.

The article picks up a similar theme.

This is probably why there needs to be in the this next aspect of healing a major push against misogyny. The subjection of women is one result of the original trespass.

Below is Michelle Obama’s speech in New Hampshire. Put aside the political aspect of who to vote for. She is hitting the target on something deeper that might well be hidden in many of us males.

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Two years ago

Here is my post from two years ago (well actually from 14/10 but reporting from this date) about the so-called ‘Columbus day’ / Fiesta Nacional de España. This is Spain’ national day and two years ago we were in Madrid and were able to sneak in a piece of art and pray right under the Spanish flag and the place where the king makes his speech on this day.

Indigenous People dayI wrote at the time: ‘Two non-Spanish people in Madrid, two non-Spanish people in Cádiz [Simon and Amy praying] – what difference does it make?’ Of course we can never really know. One day we might find out that any shift that takes place had nothing to do with what ‘we’ did, but I suspect that whenever we are led of the Lord to do something, even something that seems so small and insignificant, that there is a leverage effect that takes place.

This year the mayoress of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, will not participate in the day’s festival:

Será la primera vez que un alcalde de la capital no acude al homenaje a la bandera y al desfile militar presidido por el Rey el 12 de Octubre. Ese día inicia un viaje a Colombia y Ecuador.

By not attending she is breaking the tradition that all previous mayors/mayoresses have followed. Of course this might have nothing to do with our prayers and could be coincidence. For us it does not really matter and the reason for re-posting the link to two years ago is to encourage the small seemingly inadequate responses of prayer and repentance.

During this period of time two years ago we had one primary prayer and it was for the ‘spine of Spain to be properly aligned’. Interestingly the moment I stepped out of the car on our arrival in Madrid I was barely able to walk as my whole spine seized up. To be able to move in the city I was on pain killers. As soon as we drove out of the city my spine was released. Painfully encouraging! We write with a European bias, but think perhaps there is a wider application too that it is vital that the nations learn how to rightly align in this next season. Columbus Day ultimately celebrates the victor, the journey to ‘convert the heathens’ and to bring them under monarch and pope, while plundering the wealth of those nations to finance the wards back home. We do not need to demonise every aspect, but if we hold at any level that the sins of the ancestors have an effect on the land, the moves to shift the emphasis of the day in may parts of the world can only indicate something very positive.

Today we are not planning on doing anything specific with respect to this day. For now we feel our part is over.

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What does it mean?

Not sure why but been thinking over some prophetic words that had unexpected outcomes. There are so many that I am pretty sure the best way to interpret the prophetic is after the event. Peter’s use of Joel a few days before the Day of Pentecost and after would probably be quite different. Before – Joel is predicting… but after he says ‘This is that’.

In one setting I remember having a prophetic word reported to me that was given over a pastor concerning the eyes of the Lord being on him, never leaving him, the Lord travelling with him everywhere he went. Two or three days later it came out that he had been involved in an affair. At the time the expectation was that this was a word of deep comfort. Afterwards? Well afterwards it was also a word of deep comfort. Here is a God who cared deeply enough to go with this man wherever he went. Yes it would have been great had he never entered into the affair, and also better had he confessed after hearing the Lord speak to him… but in spite of ‘missing it’ that word is still a deep word of comfort assuring him of the presence of God.

I have, in a post a while back, covered how we respond to future prophetic declarations with an interpretation that comes from our expectations that have been shaped by where we have come from. (Peter in Matthew 16 is a classic example of this.) That really complicates things. We hear something, draw a straight line and then – caboom – we know what will happen.

What if there are prophetic words about God using a person as a wrecking ball? Expectation might be that s/he will wreck what we want wrecked and perhaps wreck what they are seeming to aim at. But what if the wrecking ball is on the religious self-preserving walls we have built and not on the evil secular house that we despise? Why would God do that? Judgment? Maybe but I think we always have to see what we think of as judgment as being merciful. That pastor who received the prophetic word about the eyes of the Lord was not so that he would forever fear (be afraid of) God, but that he would receive the unconditional love of God for only that keeps us focused on the right path.

If there is a wrecking of the religious walls it is because of love. Jesus did not prophesy the end of the temple because of some anger issue he had not dealt with. Something that had been allowed for a season, that God had appeared in, would no longer be a suitable channel for what was coming. Sadly we find it hard to let go of such things so find it very hard to embrace the enlarged expression of God. I do think there is something being wrecked at this time. The ball is swinging. But to see what the ball is hitting we need to look a little closer to home. Old political allegiances upheld by religion are being hit. I think we should be assured there is something else – not something perfect – that is on the horizon to connect with. And any connection will leave us softer in two directions – to God and to the world.

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