I first released this word in early 2014. As 2018 begins, these themes feel very fresh again.
The Event Horizon
As I woke up one morning, I heard the Lord say, “Event Horizon”. I love science so I get excited when I hear God speak like this. I didn’t know anything about the Event Horizon, so I did some research.
The Event Horizon is a concept in general relativity[i], a branch of physics. In layman’s terms, it is the ‘point of no return’. One specific type of Event Horizon is the boundary around a black hole[ii]. Key ideas about the Event Horizon include:
· If a stationary observer watches an object approach the Event Horizon, the object appears from their perspective to slow down and then eventually disappear.
· But from the perspective of an observer moving towards the Event Horizon, everything is happening at normal speed and it is impossible to determine when the Event Horizon has actually been crossed.
· Whatever is happening on the other side of the Event Horizon cannot be perceived by an observer on this side.
So how is this relevant for us?
Taking each point in turn:
· As we approach the beginning of something new, others may perceive that we are starting to behave differently. This may cause tension and difficulty in relationships; change is inherently challenging. People may misunderstand us and think we are being weird. We will be in good company; every believer who has pioneered a new path has been misunderstood by at least some.
· The new things we are walking in will feel very normal to us. In fact, we will be aware of becoming even more free in Jesus to be who we were created to be. Because of this, we will not know when we have ‘crossed the line’. There will be no signposts or bells and whistles to make us stop and think again. We need to count the cost before we start walking the road because there will be no going back. We will be spoiled for anything less!
· We can’t look into the future to see if we fancy having a go before deciding to walk the road into new things. It is a true leap of faith God is asking of us. We can’t know what the new things are until we experience them. The scriptures encourage us to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psa 34:8). The only way to experience a new flavour is to taste it for yourself; no one else can do it for you or explain it fully to you.
Walking a new path; creating legacy
As we start a new year, we continue to feel the urgency and anticipation expressed in Isaiah’s prophecy:
“I proclaim to you new things from this time,
Even hidden things which you have not known.
They are created now and not long ago;
And before today you have not heard of them,
So that you will not say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’”
Isa 48:6, 7
We are amongst an increasing number who are ‘doing church’ in different ways: where the emphasis is on family, community and relationships rather than meetings; where the pace of life is slow, and vulnerability and authenticity are prized above ‘being sorted’; where a sustainable rhythm of worship and prayer, and the pursuit of His presence, are our lifeblood; where unity of believers in a city is more important than theological differences; where the broken and questioning are welcome and new believers accelerate to maturity faster than we have ever seen.
What we are doing and where we are going is looking weird to some, provoking questions, and sometimes even concern. That is always the way with new things. Our responsibility is to the Lord, to pursue Him with every fibre of our being, but that doesn’t mean we ignore or dismiss any pain our brothers and sisters are feeling as a result of our choices. We pursue our course but we ‘keep our love on’[iii]. We need to move in grace and compassion and resist the temptation to think in terms of ‘right and wrong’, or ‘them and us’.
Above all, we have a responsibility to pursue the new path, because it isn’t just about us, it is about those who are to come. It is about the legacy we are called to create.
[iii] See Danny Silk’s book, Keep Your Love On! Connection, Communication and Boundaries (2013) Redding, California: Red Arrow Media