“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going.” (Genesis 12.1)
I have been your Bishop for six months and it has been an exciting adventure. Having travelled nearly 30,000km throughout the Diocese, it has been so encouraging to meet with so many faithful communities and individuals.
Travelling across the Hay Plain has been especially inspirational with its promise of a harvest alongside the challenge of harvesting. However I have only stopped every two hours to stretch before setting out again to my destination. I am determined to find some time to simply be still in the wilderness and listen to God’s voice to travel perhaps more slowly than 110kph!
As we enter the season of Lent, how seriously do we take the idea of entering the wilderness and letting God lead us through it. Pulling up roots, wandering as a nomad, not knowing the direction of your pilgrimage – all these are great demands to make of obedience – unless the obedience is grounded in faith and love.
During life and Lent we shall encounter many wilderness experiences, and there will be times when we shall see, in the Bible and in our own experience, that wilderness is a time of drought, emptiness, pain and suffering – and only in a relationship of faith and love can these things yield positive blessing. However dark the path may have seemed to him, Abraham held on, not by grim determination, but by faith and trust in a God who called him over the horizon of love.
When you are called to pull up your roots, when you have to face a future which calls for faith and challenge, when you have to face unknown problems which have reason to cause you fear in your present uncertainty, then it is well to think about the qualities attributed to Abraham in his wilderness journeys. Let’s cultivate the kind of faith that is grounded in love, for we can be certain then of a life which results in a rich harvest, fruits of the Spirit to be gathered and shared.
‘Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and self control’ (Galatians 5.22-23). May these fruits be the result of our Lenten pilgrimage as we travel towards the promises of Christ at Easter who says to us “I am with you always to the end of the age” (Matthew 28.20).
Bishop Rob Gillion