An illustration from Revelation

A number of times over the last months people have asked me how I am feeling and how I am coping. I am grateful for the loving care behind these questions, but have found them difficult to answer. We have been on such a roller-coaster I had long ceased to analyse my emotional reactions, and had begun to take on an almost fatalistic view of the project: "If God wills it, it will happen, and I can't deal with worrying about it". The journey has been one of successive struggles, setbacks and eventual accomplishment. Only to be faced by the next even larger hurdle. Each time a tiny step forward was achieved, the sense of anticipation heightened.

In Revelation 6-8 the Lamb opens 7 seals. With each of the first 6 openings great catastrophes are perpetrated on the earth. Then anticipation builds for the opening of the seventh seal. Finally when it is opened there is silence in heaven for half an hour, as if the heavenly host are so aghast that they are rendered speechless. Then the whole thing seems to repeat in Revelation 9-11, this time with trumpets and angels. Again with each trumpet blast a terrible catastrophe is unleashed. Then once more tension builds towards the sounding of the seventh and final trumpet. And when it is finally sounded there is the opposite reaction in heaven and a cacophony of loud voices with the heavenly host is released into praise. Amazingly this sequence is repeated once more in Revelation 16, this time with angels pouring out seven bowls. Again the first six are poured out with terrible consequences, and then once more tension builds before the seventh, but only briefly this time. The final bowl is poured out and again a vocal response comes, this time from the very throne of heaven itself, with a loud voice saying "it is done" in a cry resonant with Jesus' last words from the cross.

Now we have exchanged contracts my reaction is a combination of the first two of these seventh epiphanies in Revelation. Firstly there's the aghast silence. OMG what have we let ourselves in for! Perhaps we are completely mad, and now we have gone and acted on our madness. Then there is the cacophony of praise. Only God could have enabled this to be achieved. Against all odds we have pulled off this incredible purchase, and we know that it is not as a result of our skill or capacity. Quite the contrary, there is no credible reason why we, an already stretched local church, should have accomplished such a colossal deal. The purchase of Solar House stands testament to the hand-print of Almighty God at work amongst us. This is the Lord's doing and it is marvellous in our eyes.

Of course we are still some way off the third of the seventh epiphanies: the cry from the throne "it is done". For that I suspect we will have to navigate through many more months of blood, toil, tears and sweat.

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