Monday, September 28, 2015

Arriving at base camp (1)

I am so grateful to friends who have been praying and supporting me as my preaching project in Chicago lumbers on.  These last few days have been like arriving at a base camp at the foot of the mountain.  All the months of planning about the right equipment, supplies and climbers have, at last, brought us to a point of arrival.   On Friday I met with facilitators for the first time to talk about the journey ahead and review our resources. We began (and so much needed to!) with an extended time of listening to God in Scripture.  We are aware how easily you can marshal resources presumptuously!  As the old tag runs - God wants our availability for his plans rather than our ability in our plans.

It was challenging to describe what lies ahead for the very first time.  Hard copy first modules were in hand and first peer group members are known by name.  After months of theory it was like looking out of tent flaps to see the mountain looming ahead. One of the facilitators said at the end of our training day: 'Today I can really see for the first time what the New Kind of Preacher is all about.  It's such a big vision and I am so excited by it!'  It was humbling to sense how words on paper were beginning to come alive.

However, humbling is the word.  Looking out of the tent flaps we can see only the lower reaches of the mountain.  Like those experiences of being in mountain country where the upper reaches are still swathed in cloud and you have only hints of their height and the difficulties of scaling them, there is so much that we cannot see.   As someone else said on Friday: ' When something is really new you have not been there before and you cannot be sure what lies ahead.'

But we are at base camp!  Thank you Lord.

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