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Wednesday, 17 July 2019 07:00

Keep the Fire Burning 3: The Wandering Israelites

 2019.37.Keep the fire burning 3 wandering Israelites.main blog image

Two years ago, Kathryn and I (Mel) attended a weeklong retreat experience with 10 other young people aimed at exploring and deepening in the gift of the Holy Spirit. It was led by Jim Murphy. One night, we experienced a powerful time of prayer, where we traced the experience of those that had been touched by fire throughout the scriptures, with fire being understood as an experience of the presence of God.

We pondered the stories of Abraham, Moses, the wandering Israelites, Isaiah, Elijah, Nehemiah, and the disciples at Pentecost. Profoundly struck by the idea of considering these fiery experiences as a way to deepen my own encounter with the power of the Holy Spirit, I took each one in turn, reflecting on what the message might be for me.

In this time after Pentecost, I share the fruit of these reflections with you – the poems I wrote at the time, and the ways I now think they may encourage, challenge and strengthen me – and perhaps you as well.

This time we consider the experience of the wandering Israelites. They followed the pillar of fire through the night – a sign of the protection and presence of the Lord with them.

Pillar of cloud, guide me
So I will never wander lost
Pillar of fire, guide me
Help me never to count the cost
 
Pillar of cloud, guide me
Be my divine GPS
Pillar of fire, guide me
So my heart will just say yes
 
Pillar of cloud, guide me
When I grumble and complain
Pillar of fire, guide me
Instead, let praise be my refrain.
 
Pillar of cloud, guide me
When I can scarcely take a steo
Pillar of fire, guide me
As I discover what is next.
 
Pillar of cloud, guide me
When I am blinded by my fear
Pillar of fire, guide me
And help me to stay near.
 
Pillar of cloud, guide me
When I battle and I fight
Pillar of fire, guide me
May I trust you as my light
 
Pillar of cloud, guide me
As I tread across the sand
Pillar of fire, guide me
Lead me to the Promised Land

With the wandering Israelites, may we experience the presence of the Lord as a tangible pillar, and fully realise his enduring presence by day and by night.

Mel Edwards