Unbelievable. Some miscreants have stolen not just one, but two of our blue recycling bins. Apparently, a friend tells us, in this city it is common on bin day for bored teenagers to run off with your bin and light a fire in it in a nearby park, reducing it, most entertainingly, to a blue plastic puddle. The penny drops: we have moved to Liverpool. Liverpool, famous for being home to the Beatles, to two fiercely warring football clubs, and (perhaps less famously) the church that produced the 4 Points tracts. Liverpool, infamous for poverty (at least by western standards), unemployment and crime. And do you know what? This might just be the most blessed place in the whole of the UK to be. We feel so blessed to be here. Yes, ‘Bless-ED’, with the stress on the second syllable.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:3-5
Yesterday, as we started our team meeting with the standard ‘few minutes’ of worship and prayer (from which we emerged, spirits soaring, about an hour later) we found ourselves meditating on the Beatitudes, and on Jesus’ mission statement in Luke 4, where he was reading from Isaiah 61:
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives… (Isaiah 61:1)
As we sang and prayed these verses, we felt our hearts inflate with hope and anticipation for the new thing that God is bound to do here, the healing He will surely bring, the tears He will wipe away. For Liverpool is a city aware of its own poverty and need, and therefore, perfectly poised to receive help from Heaven. Water flows to the lowest place, and a river of Mersey is coming to wash these streets. The seeds that YWAM Liverpool (and many faithful others) planted many years ago that had fallen to the ground and died will spring up as God’s redemption rain falls.
On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing. Ezekiel 47:12
Yes, it is great to have moved to the ‘pool. Beautiful Liverpool, may you receive healing and then give it as generously as my neighbours buy my kids ice cream from the Mr. Whippy van.
4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.[b] 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. John 5:1-8
So I say to those rowdy rascally youths: “Be blessed. Rise, Jesus is calling your name – and also, would one of you come and take my recycling? Because I now have nowhere to put it.”
Much love, Peter, Taryn, Isaac & Anu