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The Road to Jerusalem


Just before writing this I was watching the unstoppable flow of lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island which erupted at the beginning of May. The situation for residents of the island has steadily worsened as many have been forced from their homes as the lava marches on. There is little or nothing can be done to stop-or even divert the flow. As an old mate of mine would say, "it's like trying to stop an oil tanker with a rowing boat". After that report came the weather forecast, as usual good for some and not for others. I've no doubt the organisers of the Chelsea Flower Show have been praying for sunshine this week, as were Harry & Megan for their wedding last weekend. And it made me think how pathetic and futile our best laid plans can sometimes feel, living as we do on this "live" planet. It's those weather patterns, those highs and lows of pressure, that gulf stream, those tidal flows that govern our every day. We can do nothing about them-they just happen-so we'd best get over it and live with it. Better still, instead of grumbling about it, we should give thanks and praise to God for the forces of nature, after all, they are what gives this planet life and bring the harvests that keeps us all alive.

When we planned all the events of "Thy Kingdom Come" we had no idea what the winds or tides of fortune would do or how they would effect things. Call it fortune, karma, fate, or whatever, the forces of good and evil are as apparent and uncontrollable as nature and we can grumble, or we can praise God at get on with plan-B. As Billy Connolly once said, "there's no such thing as bad weather, just wrong clothing!" For example, when we planned a "drive-in prayer and tea-cake" in St Peter's car-park, we had no idea there'd be a cup-final in the playing field that day and our car-park would be full of players and spectator's cars. Likewise when we planned an After-School Club at St Paul's, a "Royal Wedding Party" was already planned at Worlebury St Paul's school. We had to make adjustments. As it turned out, "Plan-B" wasn't so bad; we welcomed the footballers into the car-park and walked the touchline offering teacake and handing out fliers for the week's events, and there was a good church presence amongst the parents, grandparents and visitors at the school wedding party.

I'm reminded of a church that was holding a day of prayer and fasting to seek God's plans for them. Every five minutes or so their silence was interrupted by people knocking on the door, asking for food and blankets. The penny did eventually drop and they opened a day-centre for homeless people similar to "Somewhere to Go". Lord Carey once said, "mission is about discovering what God is already doing and joining in". I often encourage you to listen for the "still small voice" but sometimes it comes more like a fog-horn, with ten-foot letters lit in flashing neon lights and dancing girls!

My thanks for all the effort you have put into "Thy Kingdom Come". I for one think our prayers were rewarded by that amazing address at the Royal Wedding. The Lord most certainly used Bishop Mike Curry in the most powerful way that day as the gospel hit almost two billion hearts. The Kingdom is just a little closer this Monday than it was on Friday-keep on praying!

Yours in Christ

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