As I mentioned in my last blog, there were several very timely parts of scripture referred to last weekend at the Ignite Conference, all of which have had significant meaning for me over the years. One in particular was Joshua 3:5 which reads:
Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.’
When I heard it mentioned, my spirit quickened because every time this passage has sort of risen to the top of my awareness, it has been during a very significant time when I’ve sensed another important time ahead. Coming from the ‘Wesleyan Holiness’ stall, the concept of consecration is a key part of the spiritual life. It is the conscious act of preparing ourselves for an event of some sort, a rededication of one’s life to the purposes of God.
Last summer, I remember the precious evening before my silent retreat day in the wilds of Perthshire where God taught me so many amazing things. The night before, we had an opportunity to take part in a solo act of consecration which was so special. It was a key moment of surrender before God did something powerful. That day, I became aware of God in a completely new way and felt more alive than I had ever had before.
On the 1st March, I have the opportunity to add another line in the sand as I both reaffirm my lifelong call to ministry, the continuation of that call from the first season of it as a Salvation Army Officer, as I’m consecrated into the Order of Saint Leonard.
There are several things that are significant in that for me. Firstly, its a confirmation of my sense of call to be a minister of Word and Sacrament, to the whole church not just part of it, by the laying on of hands with permanent intention. Secondly, its a fulfilment of my deep sense of call to be a part of a New-Monastic Order of men and women committed to things like the unity of the church in a non-denominational way, the gospel imperative for the poor, the faithful preaching of the gospel and the reopening of the ancient wells of faith, especially Celtic Spirituality and Mission or Early Celtic Monastic wells which is particularly relevant to the North East. Thirdly, I have no desire to be a lone ranger. I’m accountable to my current church structures whilst I’m in my current role, but there will, eventually, be life beyond Trinity. Whilst I know I belong to the wider body of Christ, I also want to have as many solid links with people as I can who have a similar heart. I do believe the denominations are weakening and that networking is going to be the tool that is key to both survival but also renewal of the church and revival – whatever that will look like for the 21st century.
I simply have a building sense that God is beginning to do a new thing with me and that a new spiritual season is on the horizon in several ways. I have a sense of being prepared for something and I’m content to wait on God to see what that will look like. I have a real sense of anticipation of what God has for me.
13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, ‘Are you for us or for our enemies?’
14 ‘Neither,’ he replied, ‘but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence, and asked him, ‘What message does my Lord have for his servant?’
15 The commander of the Lord’s army replied, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so.
Joshua 5: 13 – 15