Spring Harvest 2006 was fairly rotten for me, with problems with my team members (don’t ask), and my dreams for my last girlfriend being totally shattered. I therefore approached Spring Harvest 2007 with some trepidation, but being on a new team with different hours and people brought new hope. I was serving alongside my friends from the last four years, which counts for an awful lot as well.
Anyway, being on Night Security (we manned the exhibition area and the Big Top overnight, taking turns to sleep), I found myself able to go to worship every evening, and spend plenty of time with God at night. It was a responsible job for the event, but easy going with great people – and I got time with my friends from the Stewarding team. Quality.
So, each night I got to sit in worship, and also got prayed over several times. Evening worship was on the theme of Peter: breakfast on the beach (John 21), “I want you” (Luke 5), the Transfiguration (Luke 9), the expansion of Christianity beyond Judaism (Acts 10 – the vision of the sheet), real world (Acts 12 – parallels between either end of the chapters), and on the last morning, the theme was “Will you follow me” (John 21 again), referring back to Peter’s walk through the rest of his days, through bad days and good.
Just focussing on what Mark Madavan said that morning… he told the story of a holiday in Cyprus where they had to take a particular road to where they were going, and it suddenly stopped and became a dirt track. They checked and found it was correct – and eventually the tarmac road started again. This happened several times during the journey. Our challenge was to go on beyond the end of tarmac, just as Peter had had to do; to choose between compromise and standing firm, and between excusing one’s own behaviour or turning to God for help.
Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith will not fail, and that when he would turn back, he would strengthen his brothers. God is not results-driven, but restoration-driven (and don’t I know it!).
Mark’s own parallel is that he is going unstoppably blind. He has 6% vision now, but eventually it’ll be total blindness. Everything changed when he and Cathy found out, but also nothing changed. They were both still there, and so was God. Keeping your eyes on God would keep you focussed on the end.
I came back from Spring Harvest refreshed and somewhat decisive, which is good. I resolved to go for the job at Strand, and I also set out (in careful consultation with God) what I believe his call is for me. I can tell you that when I was prayed for, I was told that specific bits of this would happen eventually (everything in the right order!)
These are some thoughts on my calling I scrawled down late one night:
“My calling is fundamentally to live out God’s love. To see ways. To make them happen. To speak for God’s love and justice.
“And to love my wife with God’s love, as he has called me to.
“To show people where to find refuge in God, under the shadow of his wings.
“To speak God’s love, to sing and play God’s love, to write God’s love.
“Taking the pain I’ve known, my shattered life, my utter brokenness for God’s amazing glory, all the rejection I’ve ever been through, all my frustrations.
“Taking my past, spreading the story.
“So… where shall i start? Where’s the cliff I need to jump off?
“Where do I start spreading God’s love and justice?”
Two months on, I think I know some of the answers. Strand is part of the cliff, so is moving to Belfast. I think!
Time alone will tell.