Thursday, April 26, 2007

No-Man's Land

The first time I ever went to France at the age of 14 I walked through these... No-man's land by the Somme: the expansive empty tranquil fields divided by several trenches that used to be the battlegrounds in the first world war. No one wanted to go out into them because the likelihood of your coming back was so minimal...
I feel as though I'm in no-man's land right now though my situation doesn't quite look like that. It looks more like a busy month of what will be more countless goodbyes, celloings, bits and pieces of travelling than much else... part of me just wants to skip the goodbyes, to skip this long drawn out end to what has been an experience of a year and get on with the next part... or at least be in either one camp or the other... not in between the two... hrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrumph (an elephant sigh)

But I know God has a purpose for me being here, and even though I'm finding it hard to do what I love best i.e invest in people, because either they're leaving or I am, I've to make the most of it, and live, because that's what he's called me to do, for better or for worse...
Whether I like it or not this is no man's land season... so no reason to be de-motivated by it. Rather, quite the opposite: ...give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess 5:18

God please make me joyful.


nealb said...

Reminded of this:
(from here)

We are creatures of comfort.
We like to be safe and secure
to be surrounded by what we know
to be in control
to order our lives in the way that suits us.

We want our journeys mapped out for us
itinerary decided, tickets booked
time of arrival guaranteed
refreshment breaks at regular intervals
and a credit card for unforeseen circumstances.

But Jesus said ‘follow me’ without saying where he was going
just promising transformation along the way.

The Israelites in the desert, rescued from slavery and oppression,
were tired and homeless, hungry and thirsty, insecure and unsettled.
And their minds went back to what they had known.
They yearned for the structure of predictable slavery rather than the broken walls of unknown freedom.

Liminal space is the place of inbetweenness, of insecurity.
It is the Israelites in the wilderness,
it is Paul blind in Damascus waiting for Ananias.
Liminal space is emptiness and nowhere,
it is uncertainty and chaos,
it is a place of discomfort and unrest.
Liminality is a place of dying and rebirth, of metamorphosis, the place where the caterpillar spins its cocoon and disappears from view.

Nothing good or creative emerges from business as usual. Much of the work of God is to get people into liminal space and to keep them there long enough so they can learn something essential.

This is the invitation of God, to move
- from comfort to insecurity
- from what we know to what we have yet to discover
- from what we are good at to what we might fail at
- from safety to a place of risk

[Play Far have I come, Idjut boys CD]

God of broken people and broken places
We confess to you our love of comfort,
of the known and predictable,
of the safe and secure.
We recognise that you call us into liminal space
To leave what we know and venture with you into desert and wilderness, into blindness and discomfort
We want to follow you, but it’s hard to leave what we know
Help us to trust you, and to set out.

On the journey of faith,
Far I have come, far I must go

God of broken people and broken places
We thank you for all that Grace has been to us and to many others
We thank you for the space to listen, to grow, to create, to be challenged
We recognise that you are calling us on
To leave what we know and venture with you into new things, into engagement and participation, into creativity and risk, into new structures and opportunities
We want to follow you, but it’s hard to leave what we know and we’re not sure where we’re going
Help us to trust you, and to set out.

On the journey of faith,
Far we have come, far we must go.

God of rebuilt people and rebuilt places
You have plans for deserts and wilderness
‘Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
The thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
Grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness.’

God of transformation we look forward to what you will do
With our lives and with Grace

On the journey of faith,
Far we have come, far we must go.

Diana said...

Nice blogging Dish. Just before I read this, I was re-reading what I had blogged in the days before I left Glasgow. It's certainly a time of transition and a frenzy of emotions-excitment to be returning to your old home, but sadness as you're leaving your new home. It's amazing how much can happen in a year and where you're going back to, there are not any people who experienced the last year with you. Drop me an email if you need an ear to process.

Neal, thanks for your contribution. It's something that I needed to hear too.