You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
T S Elliot
As the children of God journeyed through the wilderness, they were accompanied by visible signs of God's presence, a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. These signs dictated when they should be on the move and when they should stay put.
As time went on, Moses built the Ark of the Covenant to house the Ten Commandments and to symbolise God's faithful presence accompanying the people in all their wandering.
Eventually, Solomon built a temple to house the presence of the Lord and the priests administered and interpreted the things of God.
Even today, priests and ministers are perceived to preside over the Spirit of God in our communities and in the world, operating programmes out of buildings erected for that purpose. Even when the programme involves moving out of the sanctuary, still it is regulated and controlled by the professional whose job it is to keep all things "in good order".
This phase of Path of Renewal invests in those paid staff, ministers used to operating within the confines of buildings and parishes wherein the Spirt of God is contained. The challenge and call is not to abandon those places where, despite our best efforts at containment, God's spirit is yet able to emerge and impact lives - but also to risk venturing out, seeking and acknowledging the presence of God's Spirit in all the unlikely places, not least in the children whom God calls beloved.
Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made with human hands; as the prophet says,
‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
or what is the place of my rest?
Did not my hand make all these things?’
God is in our sanctuaries but is not confined there.
God inhabits the street corners, the playing fields, the dog parks of our communities - and more - God inhabits the lives of those who frequent those places in our neighbourhood.
Our calling is to be faithful in serving the affairs of the Spirit manifest in our buildings but also to recognise and promote the activity of God's Spirit that roams freely in our world, changing lives without programme or plan or even expectation.
Our calling is to be awake to those signs of the Spirit at work, to celebrate lives changed and purpose rediscovered, to lay down our need to corral and control, sharing the wonder that God continues to dwell in the life of the world.
Unlearning what we think we know and learning all those new things that Christ sought to reveal and continues to unfold to us by the Spirit - those are the tasks that will take us further along a Path of Renewal.