I recently attended the Conference of the United Society (USPG) or Us in June. The focus was on the work done in World Mission by this organisation since 1701 and how this work in a new way can be done in the future. Part of the focus was on the sense of that “we walk by faith and not by sight” 2 Corinthians 5.
The Right Revd Michael Burrows spoke at the conference about Isaiah 40 and Matthew 3:16 and the sense of pilgrimage with no point of focus but trusting in God. He spoke of St Columba setting out with no oars in a little boat trusting in the wind and sea and placing his trust in God to set him out on a journey with no fixed point but allowing God to take him where he was needed. And so the Iona community was created on one of the major trade routes of the time. I wonder how the Missionaries felt when they set out on a new journey like my parents in the 1950′s as they went to India.
It made me think of my own journey of faith, really from the moment my Father died very suddenly. I was angry and went into the garden to shout and swear and as I looked up I saw and felt God present. He had always been there and was waiting for me at the very moment I needed him. This encounter set me out with no sense of direction as to where I was going to end up. This sense of God present became apparent again when I was called to the priesthood. Sitting in a church in Woolpit watching a new Rector being installed, I thought to myself well I could do that. And suddenly God spoke to me and simply said Go on then, but as he spoke I saw a shadow through a door with light pouring through and I felt a sense of utter joy and contentment.
My new walk in Faith had started , I was and still are accompanied by my wife but just occasionally I have the privilege of sharing it with so many other people who need to be with me and I need to be with them. I love this sense of placing myself in God’s hands as I continue to walk in faith and not by sight, its exhilarating, frightening but always its fun.
If you want to know more about Us then follow the link http://www.weareus.org.uk
Revd David Messer