Friday, 16 September 2011

Embracing the Wilderness Experience

Sandra Jebb

The reading we have this week from Exodus tells part of the story of the children of Israel complaining as they are moved out of their comfort zone into the wilderness. What strikes you as they yearn for the “good old days in Egypt” is that Egypt had been a harsh place for them living under an oppressive regime and yet they called out to go back to Egypt rather than to go forward into the wilderness with God. Their comfort zone, Egypt, was not a good place to be and yet it was preferable to the risk and insecurity of the wilderness because it was familiar and known.

We at Kairos are facing challenging times as we seek to discern and move forward to where God is calling us to be. Perhaps you might feel we are in some sort of wilderness and you might well yearn to be back in the “good old days” when people came to church, it was just the thing to do, and there were lots of people to help in ministry. Yet our Christian faith has never been about security but always about risk, never about certainty but always about mystery. We too can complain and yearn for the past or risk moving forward into a future that is not clear and might feel uncomfortable.

To take up God’s challenge to us we need to embrace the wilderness experience and allow God to renew and remake us. Some of that renewing will mean letting go of some things and learning to trust God more. The children of Israel had been in Egypt for over 400 years and God had to move them into the wilderness in order to prepare and train them to be God’s people. God provided for them but that provision came with testing. The wilderness experience eventually led to the Promised Land.

We don’t know exactly what the future shape of Kairos will be like but we need to trust God and not be afraid to move forward. Even if we feel we are in the wilderness and things are not at all clear and becoming uncomfortable. We are called to seek God in this Kairos time we find ourselves living in knowing that God will provide but will also test us along the way. The children of Israel eventually did get to the Promised Land. The community of Kairos Uniting Church will also get there but hopefully it won’t take quite as long!!

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