I enjoyed giving the Go and Grow update at St Bs yesterday. Watching the Go and Grow film, I was struck afresh by both the magnitude and the potential of this incredible vision. And the church also seemed to be reinvigorated by the vision for Go and Grow, as I had several animated conversations after the services, where the excitement was palpable. So much so that subsequent to my venturing an appeal for sufficient loans to bridge the funding gap before our project board meeting on Tuesday, I received pledges that, with prayer, have the chance of us averting an unnecessary foreclosure marketing of Solar House. What a relief that will be!
The move to Solar House will be a complete revolution for St Bs. I anticipate the church needing to completely reinvent itself, as extraordinary new opportunities for mission present themselves at dizzying speed. I have a suspicion that if we thought the Go and Grow project was challenging now, we will realise that the fundraising campaign is only the hors d'oeuvre, with the main meal awaiting us when we move.
If you were at St Bs on Sunday you will have noticed that I illustrated a couple of my main points using fine art. Whether people are humouring me for my use of paintings to illustrate my points I cannot say, but even if they leave everyone else cold, the pictures help me. Lady Elizabeth Butler's astonishingly frolicsome "Scotland Forever" (see link below) depicting the charge of the Royal Scots Greys at Waterloo was actually painted sixty six years after the battle and took such artistic licence that Bernard Cornwall described it as "entirely misleading". Maybe in years to come we will look back on these days of heightened tension and trepidation with a nostalgic gloss. In Hebrews 11 the heroes of the Old Testament are applauded for their faith, in language that suggests that they sailed through their challenges with graceful ease. However if you look back at the Old Testament accounts of their exploits you get an entirely different picture of struggle, pain, setbacks and disillusionment, before ultimately coming through to victory.
The reality of our Go and Grow experience continues to be one of considerable difficulties. This is to be expected. No great vision was ever birthed in comfort. But take heart, God is on our side or, as the lyrics of the Chris Tomlin song we sang on Sunday morning says: "if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us".