The Traveller’s Rest- Belonging Nowhere, Belonging Everywhere.

Belonging?

One of the great conversations that flow from those inside the walls to those who have joined the journey of the wild wanderers is about belonging or being a part of something, particularly with reference to a local Body of believers. To not neglect the coming together is being translated as being part of a church and going on a regular basis to one particular group. Becoming a member one of another by signing a membership pledge and getting that sense of belonging by regularly gathering in the same place at the same time with the same people sometimes two, three times a week, maybe even more. They shout about verses referencing being part of a local church and that that is the only kind of way that Christian’s relate and meet and function. To be outside of that model is to be outside of the will and purpose of God and to live the life of a lone ranger or an island. No man is an island!!! Neglecting the gathering together is to neglect the safety net of accountability and relationship with others. On those first few steps outside the structured church system those words can cut deep, wound, cause confusion, sow doubt, cause rebound back into the four walls, make us believe we have it wrong, make us feel like rebels without a cause. This is a painful part of the journey that must be worked through in as much grace as possible. It will cause the loss of some relationships and there will be a sense of being cut off and marginalised. What we thought were close friendships will over-night come to a close. This can be a lonely place and make us feel that maybe what has been spoken over us is true. There is a sense where we need to belong, after all God said to Adam in paradise, “it is not good for man to be alone”, and that was in the perfect union with the Father. What I have discovered though is that God will bring a fresh sense of community and a fresh interpretation as to what that means. Through social networking, meeting others by chance ;), recognising those already placed in our lives around us day by day and many other unique ways, God starts to reconnect the disconnected. In some ways we wake up to the fact that maybe we were never totally disconnected in the first place, just unplugged from the system or as some call it the Matrix. My family, my work colleagues, my friends, other wanderers, writers, other marginalised people, all of a sudden community is all around me. I belong nowhere as part of any club or church, and yet I find I belong everywhere. I never stop for a second belonging. Even to those of you who read my scribbles, we belong together, joined by a blog world that creates relationships and connectivity. Some of my greatest relationships ever have come out of just recording the journey into a seemingly impersonal cyber world. I’m always being joined together with others. I’m always being gathered together. Infact it never seems to stop. If you ever doubted it for a second let me shout it from the mountaintop, you belong, you are a part of the Body of Christ, you are connected, you are part of what God is up to locally, nationally and globally. You are a functioning joint where you are. I cut off from you any negative word that has ever been spoken over you concerning being a loose canon or an island. I cut off any doubt or sense of missing the mark. We are part of each other, maybe marginalised by man, but at the centre of all that God is up to. We are part of one another.

Wherever I Lay My Hat, That’s My Home.

Walking and accepting this you begin to realise that others may think you are homeless and disconnected, but in reality what is happening is that the landing places of your feet become home. As one old but good song says, ‘wherever I lay my hat that’s my home’. The world becomes my cathedral, the connectivity with the whosoever becomes my church. You find yourself as a wild wanderer and yet one with many places of abode. Home is where my heart is, and as long as my heart is after the things of God and for people, where our hearts beat is home. Belonging nowhere for man to manipulate and control, and yet belonging everywhere. Even as I think over this past week I have had the privilege to see one of my ex-night shift colleagues get baptised in an evangelical church. He became a Christian in October last year. Did any of our conversations play a part in that? Did my salt and light in the workplace touch somewhere deep in him? I may never know but what a thrill to see him going through the waters of baptism. To be a part of his special night was amazing. So much I could not relate to personally in the style of hymn/prayer stuff, but more and more I see through the form and see the people. For that night I landed there and joined with other Asda colleagues, some Christians, others maybe not yet, to see our friend taking this step in his journey. Why has God led him to that church and not just into relationship with Father? That is not for me to answer, and maybe not even for God to answer for Himself, but all is part of journey to continue to unfold. That night that place was home because that is where I landed. Tuesday evening Allison and myself were invited by a friend to join her in her home with a few others to celebrate Purim. This woman and a few others have been walking the feasts and festivals of the Scriptures for many years now, seeing something of the restoration of all things in the rhythm of old. We went along and gathered with about 6 other people. We ate and laughed and heard stories and shared life, and shared about the redemption and deliverance of Israel through Esther and Mordecai. Reminded of our great Deliverer and how God works amongst the marginalised and the silenced. For that night this was home. Belonging together. Wherever I lay my hat that’s my home.

Shape-shifting Flight Path.

Every week has a different shape. This next week I may have no organised gathering places but that does not stop the gathering. Those times with Allison and the boys, those moments at work around the canteen and in the aisles, random gatherings on street corners and in the shops and streets, signs of belonging everywhere. Facebook conversations, phone-calls with friends and fellow wanderers, e-mail notes of encouragement and hope, all times where sinews are joined together and the Body functions with words of hope and love and acceptance. In fact when I really think about it, it is virtually impossible to really disconnect from everything. Even when I lay my bed in the depths He is there! Even when I hide in a cave, there are hundreds more Cave dwellers hidden somewhere ready to be connected into the story. Adullum’s cave was the place of amazing reconnection and hope for David. So where do I belong? Nowhere and everywhere. Connected in more ways than I could ever imagine. In my mind sometimes so isolated and yet through God’s mind so connected. I thank God that I am connected to you.

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9 thoughts on “The Traveller’s Rest- Belonging Nowhere, Belonging Everywhere.

  1. Mavis Andradez

    Strange that you wrote on meeting together. I say ‘strange’ because this week I have been thinking about the same thing and was thinking about blogging about it at the weekend. But you have said it all so eloquently I might not. On the other hand maybe this is God wanting the message to be spread over a wider area among more people. We’ll see. Thanks for writing this. Again you have written much of what is in my heart.

    Reply
  2. dianewoodrow

    Paul, thank you so much for this. I’ve had a bit of a week of it and been accused of being a loose cannon and not “coming under authority”. Needed this. Still feeling like God is saying “Stay put” (as in staying congregation I’m going to) but it is so great to know I have this wider community out there. X

    Reply
    1. pleader05 Post author

      Hi Diane, good to hear from you. It is great to be a part of one another. Walking with Him will cause us to be accused of many things, especially when we do not hold onto ‘church membership’ too tightly. There will always be those who want to control the Wind and those that flow with Him. It is not about leaving anything or staying put in anything, just about living life fully in Him and following whatever we feel His voice may be saying to us. Be encouraged because you may feel like a duck out of water where you are, but you definately have a place of belonging. Bless you loads, Paul.

      Reply
  3. Liz Eph

    “I thank God that I am connected to you.” I reciprocate. I still miss the closeness of fellowship and the joy of worship when we were part of a new church. But apart from that I have been very lonely in some church situations where I have been. I’m so glad for fb to be able to meet up and share together.

    Reply
  4. Kate

    Hi Paul, having recently come off a church membership list I can relate to a lot of what you are saying which I find encouraging, thank you. Something else I am wondering about is ‘corporate worship’ (sorry for the jargon) ie. a bunch of people singing praise to God together. How do you see this outside the walls, do you think there is a place for it? Is it important to you? Does it look different? Thanks Kate

    Reply
    1. pleader05 Post author

      Hi Kate, great to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words. The whole area of what we call ‘corporate worship’ is a big and challenging one to me. I have to say that when I first walked outside the walls this is what I missed the most, those times when a group of people would just be free in worship together. I longed for a good sing. I had to personally go through a few lessons though, for example my dependance on a gathering to worship God. Was I depending on others too much to connect with God? Was I just seeing worship as a time of singing, music with others, so when this is taken away do I cease to worship God? I had to work through many issues like this. I had to find new and fresh ways to connect with God. I realised that I was allowing ‘worship leaders’ to be my priests instead of finding my own ways of connecting with God in and through life. I still think there is a place for corporate worship, but more a flowing expression of lives together rather than my fix for the week. What I thought was weird was a time I was at Greenbelt they had Tim Hughes, the ‘worship leader’. I had not been in a corporate time of worship for ages so I was looking forward to a good praise session. The first song I was up hands in the air giving it my all, it was great. After half an hour I was bored. I had found such new freedom in expressing my worship through life and songs of my heart that I realised this just did not connect with me anymore. That is my story though, I am sure it is different for everyone. So is it important? I see a time and a place for it, and I think it will be restored in fresh and creative ways, but for me personally I do not crave it like I used to wanting my next fix. I still love worship CD’s and think we have sounds to release that are yet to be heard, but to crave corporate singing, not any more. How it will look I do not know because I think it will look different everywhere. it will not be recordable because once that happens you can imitate it. It may not be song but it will be song. Times around kitchen tables and in living rooms with friends. Times in the streets and in the open air. More sung for Him rather than for ourselves. Houses of prayer where singers and musicians play for Him not for crowds. It will look different wherever you look. I still sometimes long for a time to sing with others, and there is nothing wrong in that, but now worship has taken on a life of it’s own for me. A journey just like everything else. Hope this helps. The ramblings of a journeyman. Bless you loads, Paul.

      Reply
      1. Kate

        Thanks Paul this gives me something to think about. When it hasn’t connected with me I have tended to ask the question ‘why?’ and wondered what is going on. At the same time missing it too. Maybe worship is changing for me and I don’t yet recognise it, maybe there are ways I worship God without realising it yet. Thanks for your thoughts.
        Kate

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