Sacred Spaces 302 – Sleeping with Rhino’s
22nd August 2011
Two weeks ago I found myself in Zululand. Accompanied by two guides (the local rangers), 5 south africans (friends & family) and a Belgian couple.
We set out on a 4 day (3 night) adventure under African sky. (For more info click Imfolozi Wilderness Trail)
In His back garden God taught me many things. (I love how we can always learn new things.)
And truth is, none of us have arrived yet. There are still so many things for us to DISCOVER.
Out in the wild, I noticed a few things:
Our 2 zulu guides had very interesting names. First there was Sicelo.
His name either means God answers or Answer from God. (I spent ages trying to find the proper definition on the Net… however the internet failed this time)
Then there was Tom. But that was his English name and we wanted to know his Zulu name, so I asked him and he told us:
Sphamandla. His name means: Give us Strength!
The Zulu culture and the Jewish culture have a few things in common. One of them is the importance of one’s NAME. Each name means something. A person’s name is their IDENTITY. So before one would even speak to that person and find out about them, their name would tell you something.
We as God’s people may have simple common names, HOWEVER we carry an identity as God’s children.
John 1: 12 tells us: “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
We are also told in 2 Corinthians 5: 17 “that anyone who is in Christ a NEW creation, the old has gone and the new has come.”
We don’t always hold onto our identity as much as we should. We often belittle ourselves, compare ourselves to others and not realise our own WORTH in Jesus. I can imagine Him telling us to look in the mirror and as we stare at our reflection, we would notice Jesus next to us pointing to you and I; saying “You are mine. I love you more than you know.”
Among all of us we indentified 60 species of birds in three days. (In the world there are over 10000 species of birds.) That’s a heck of a lot! What does that tell us?
Simply and profoundly… God is an AWEsome Creator! Why create more than one type of bird? Why not?!
Could it be that God wants us to love our lives and EXPLORE his beauty and creation with wonder and awe and enjoyment. One bird would be awesome in its unique complexity. YET God creates over 10000 species. That’s epic!
Why? Simply, God is allowed to show off… TRUTH, all of creation is their to bring GLORY to God.
I thought of Romans 1: 20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature have clearly been seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men (mankind) are without excuse.”
Look at that array of colour. Look at the beauty. If creation was a crime scene… then God’s fingerprints would be all over it. Everyday the sun rises and sets (not technically, but you know what I mean). There is always a new pattern in the sky, and its always so beautiful! My time in the African wilderness reminded me of that truth.
We learnt about ants and what they do for their Queen; and just their engineering and genius construction, wow! I am always awed by the connection of creation. For example. The DUNG beetle lives off the dung of other animals. And also that dung is used to fertilize the earth.
A twig insect. Wow! Haven’t seen that in ages. Check how camoflauged it is. It’s design is intentional.
I just can’t not see God in all of this. HE is so PRESENT!!!
Also on the hike, we had no WATCHES or cellphones with us. It was cool to not let TIME dictate. And to just be. In the wild, with our Maker and our friends. So another lesson: less is more
And don’t rush life away by being so time bound.
We each carried ONE spoon, one bowl and one mug. That was enough! And it always can be. Even in our “western worlds”
We tend to collect so much “stuff” in our lives.
We ate every meal with those 3 utensils.
And guess how we washed them? Yes, you got it right… with sand and river water… that’s it!
Okay so we didn’t take a picture of that, but here is a picture of our earthly dinner table, with our great chef, Tom:
I also really liked sitting around the FIRE, getting to know about other cultures and just to pause and enjoy the simplicity of life:
Maybe in our lives we need to pause a bit more and just share stories. Because just as Jesus told parables and people learnt stuff from them, so can we learn from each other’s stories. Whether they’re fables or of their own experience.
While walking around the bush and learning from our guides and stopping and resting in the African sunshine, we were told to not speak too much. Firstly because we would scare the animals away such as these Buffalo:
And also so that we may embrace our surroundings. I also used the QUIET to listen and talk to God. I offered my thoughts on ministry and the church and what direction I need to GO. I felt God give me this verse from Luke 4. And I pray that you would add that to your FAITH journey too.
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
In the temple Jesus unrolled the scroll from Isaiah and proclaimed that that was His mission.
I felt God say to me; I need to measure what I do in the future with this above mission statement.
How do I (and you) proclaim GOOD news to the poor and FREEDOM to prisoners? Etc Etc.
I think we as Christians and churches cannot just look inwards to our “holy huddles” but rather be “hands on” in the world and community we ourselves in.
(What do you think about that?)
So I ask you to pray for me (and yourself) as we try by His grace and strength to live out mission of the Luke 4 verse above!!!
I could talk (write) a lot more but would rather just keep quiet for NOW and let these pictures below speak for themselves. A picture paints a 1000 words, but you know that already…from sunsets, to sunrises, to beautiful animals and birds, to playing baseball with rhino dung and to sleeping under the stars… we are alive and well!
John 10: 10 “I have come to give you LIFE and life in the full!”
While walking in the bush I kept having Johnny Clegg songs play in my head. So I thought I’d add this youtube clip for some video interaction. (May you be the one with a great heart as you allow God’s heart to beat in yours)
This clip involves a great story about starfish and you will hear a collection of South African artists singing this great tune together:
(If you recieve this by email… this link won’t work [its a problem with WordPress] however go to the blog and you can watch it there.)
I hope you have enjoyed and learnt something from this interactive Sacred Space. God bless you abundantly!