Liz, one of our Ministry Coordinators had a picture when she was praying back in February and something Stephen said during the Lockdown brought it to mind. This is what she wrote:
Now I am not one to normally have visions or anything. But I thought I would tell you about one I had a couple of months ago. A vision is where you are awake and maybe praying, maybe not, but you see something in your mind’s eye, that you think may come from God. Now you might be thinking it was just my imagination and of course it could have been. But here are the reasons it felt like this vision came from God: 1) because it seemed somewhat disconnected to anything I was thinking, 2) because I was already thinking about what we as a church needed to be praying about, 3) because it felt really vivid, and 4) because it seemed like a kind of Godly picture.
This is what it was. I was awake in the night, and as I was due to lead prayers the following week at Church, I was thinking about what to pray. As I thought about leading the prayers with everyone at Church, I saw myself walking over to the side wall of the Church, behind where the drums and piano are. And instead of a wall it was a huge barn door, so big that the doors made up the whole side wall. I pushed these doors open and the whole side of the church was open to the outside. Lots of light flooded in. And outside there was a straight wide empty road. I saw no houses or people, no fence around the Church grounds just this wide empty track with fields on either side. It led right from the wide-open Church straight out towards the direction of the New Estate.
That was all the vision was, but at the time I was quite struck by it, as it had felt so vivid, and so I had messaged Stephen early in the morning telling him it. At the time I felt it was maybe saying something about God making a way straight into Church, and also about how we, the Church, needed to go out onto this open road. Though I wasn’t sure what the emptiness of the road was about. And the verse that came to mind was this:
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Well I had kind of forgotten about this until listening to Stephen’s talk the evening of Tuesday 28th April, (Click here to see that video) and he was talking about our tagline ‘doors that are open’ and he said ‘the doors are even wider than they have ever been’. It reminded me of this vision, and I reminded Stephen of it again and I searched back through my messages for it, and found it back on 8th Feb, several weeks before we had any idea lockdown might be coming. Now I understand it like this – the empty roads make more sense – people are all at home; we have had to leave the Church building and go out, and yet, God has made a wide path to Church – Church the people – via phones, via Facebook live and via our homes.
Incidentally, (or maybe not), in the prayers I led at Church I felt called to particularly pray for how we used our phones. We all got out our phones and held them and prayed that God would help us to use our phones wisely. We could never have imagined that within a few weeks much of our Church life, indeed much of our lives altogether, would become mediated through the internet and through our phones.
So what might God be saying to us now through this? What do you think? I am going to go back to the verse from Isaiah. God is “doing a new thing”, the way is there, the way is made, we just need to perceive it, and then go with it. Yes, it may be a wilderness, but it is God’s path, it is springing up, and that feels very exciting! Welcome the people who stumble across it and join us, and welcome to you if you would like to follow this wide path with us, a path that leads to a loving Father God. Join in with what God is doing! This is a way well worth travelling.