Under the cloudJanuary 25, 2019
“And the cloud of the Lord was over them by day, whenever they set out from the camp”
“Under a cloud” first conjures images of being in poor standing for me, having wandered from outspokenness to offense, in need of seek forgiveness. It’s isolating under there, cut off from those around you with a barrier you can no more reach than remove. ‘Under the cloud of protection’ is quite the opposite, a place of uplifting security and safety, segregated from the glorious sunlight, but protected from the harsh scalding of it’s power.
As I’ve wandered in Numbers 10 this month I’ve been drawn back and back to this dichotomy. These people are not simply the chosen of God, but the set apart nation, and, as their pale skin and travelling garb would have shown, they did not belong to the land into which they would pass. They traveled under the cloud of their ancestors mistakes, the disbelief that had given them a 40 year journey in the wilderness. I wonder if they even remembered the way that brooks can babble or the roar of that vast Nile rushing. Yet they traveled under a banner written in the sky, above reproach or alteration, a banner of purpose and protection, a divine decree announcing their arrival.
This was a wiser nation perhaps, a nation that had received it’s guidelines, that knew it’s limits, that understood more about what it honored and represented than those that had built the golden bull. There is a purpose and a energy in the air as the people who have watched the generation of doubters dwindle, with tales of great plagues and divided seas, await their turn to be the heroes in the drama. And now they move in the half light forward.
It’s a picture of faith that resonated much more with me than the glory of the Jericho or the drama of the red sea. A swathe of faces under a vast cloud, their weapons and trumpets muted in the gloom. This slow wander forward, with cattle and crying babe, the stumbling elder and over zealous teen, the carts of tent cloth, the paraphernalia of a nation. It’s an inclusive and yet dynamic image of God’s whole family.
This shrouded concourse is the representation of the unfailing faithfulness of God and his people. These who wander with neither sun nor stars to guide their way. These who trust what they can neither hold nor define. These who journey onward together with all they know. These whose hearts beats with long whispered promises. These people of the one true God. What a template for moving forward.
A word of powerJanuary 8, 2019
For the last few years I’ve joined in with the idea of choosing a word for the year. It’s been an interesting that often the meaning the word starts out with isn’t at all what it means to me by the time summer and autumn have given way to winters frosts once more.
In 2016 I chose the word appreciate, it proved to be a huge discipline to keep. Invest was the word for 2017 and saw me laying roots down and painfully letting go of old supports. 2018 was all about ‘the call’ and now, with hindsight, there’s emerged a clarity on who I am, who I wish to be, and how I can serve within that role. Importantly its been a year of releasing the bits that aren’t actually part of my call even though I used to think they were.
2019 will be the year to ‘begin‘
I love the word begin because it’s two meanings are so polar opposite: I can’t begin to show God’s love for his world and yet in some ways that’s all I can do, begin, for I’ll never hope to complete anything that will do it justice.
For me begin is also challenge to stop the procrastination, to put aside playing with possible projects and commit to see them through, it’s going to be a year of hard work and I’m chomping at the bit to get started.
To start the year I’m going to dwell in Numbers chapter 10. It’s a passage of action. It talks about how the Israelite moved, how God accompanied and directed their journey. It describes the conversation with Moses father in law and the promise he was given that accompanying the Israelite people would give him future security.
Do you have a word for the year?
Modern Women of Faith – An interviewDecember 11, 2018
The lovely Erin from Ragamuffin Royalty interviewed me by e-mail a few weeks back. She asked me to share a bit about life here and how God has shaped my journey.
I walked into the interview not really knowing what she was looking for and received a list of questions including…
What is your earliest memory of Jesus or the Church?
If you were speaking to a room full of young women for 5 minutes, what would you tell them?
If you’d like to read the answers to these and other questions then click on the image to head over to ragamuffin royalty.
I found being interviewed a real chance to do a bit of soul searching and recognizing the chapters than have closed in my life. I’m off for an extended break as I celebrate what may well be my last Christmas in Britian and close that chapter. Have a wonderful Christmas season and I’ll be back in the new year.
What chapters have closed for you recently?