12 weeks, 13 beds, 3 countries, 1,000’s of photos and experiences LATER and we’re home! 7 weeks study, and 5 weeks annual, leave allowed Dorothy and myself ‘time-out’ in New Zealand and Australia. Sabbatical, a discipline of stopping normal routine and activity, to detox from life’s driven-ness, to be-loved and renewed as a human ‘being’, and re-enter home life and living with widened wisdom, deepened gratitude, heightened awareness of what God wants, and a renewed desire to serve.
‘God working in and through the world and community of sport’ was my study focus, and included service as a chaplain in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village Team and gleaning excellent principles and practice to translate here in Irvine & Scotland. A campervan tour of NZ’s South Island, Catch-up with friends in Melbourne & Perth, 2 nights in the Aussie Outback at Ayer’s Rock, and an exploration of South Western Australia, gave us a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience. We’re so grateful for God’s guidance, safe-keeping, provision, exposure to awe-inspiring worlds of beauty and grandeur, and the overwhelming generosity of our hosts! We return with our soul-reservoirs topped-up with God’s Love, primed to overflow with loving service here in our beloved home town and land.
Our Perth hosts Joy & Billy Kelly taught me a wee trick to hold back tears and block tear ducts by lifting your eyebrows. I practiced this before Sunday morning’s first service back among the Fullarton Church Family, but to no avail, reduced to a puddle at my sermon’s 5th and final point, such is the love and affection I have for the good folk and flock of Fullarton.
Distance certainly makes the heart grow fonder and meeting our grandson (born April 4th) for the first time and hugs with our family are particularly warm and tight.
There is no place like home! But where is ‘home’? The Bible tells us that this earth is not our ultimate home (heaven). Throughout our Antipodean Adventure I experienced a remarkable peace and ‘at homeness’. I put this down to knowing that Father God, Big Brother Jesus and Inspiring Spirit are always with, in and around us. The loving presence and peace of God is a gracious gift available to all who seek it and find an eternal home in God.
Lee Ridley, aka ‘Lost Voice Guy’, recent winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2018, is clearly at home within his own skin. It takes tremendous character and confidence to perform the way he did, wowing audiences in the process. God’s Love helps us to grow in our ‘beloved’ identity and work through shame, self-loathing, guilt and other emotions which can rob us of ‘feeling loved and being at home within’.
May all that gets in the way of peace within you be washed away by the overflowing knowledge and experience of God’s Love in Christ. I pray a happy ‘home coming’ for us all here, now, and forever.