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04 January 2013

Wandering into 2013

Wandering into 2013

“Let’s go and explore tomorrow. You might find anything in a place like this,” said Peter to Susan, Edmund and Lucy. “And that was how the adventures began," writes CS Lewis in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The house was full of unexpected, interesting places. Yet, seeing a nearly bare room, Peter quickly concluded: “Nothing there!” so they all trooped out again.

All except Lucy. And it’s actually with her that the adventures really begin. A girl whose exploration of the known becomes the route into the unknown. Gently feeling her way forward, expecting her fingertips to bump into the back of the wardrobe, Lucy’s curiosity is the way out of a smaller, diminished world. Her wondering causes her to wander into Narnia where her first conversation is with an equally curious Faun: “Excuse me – I don’t want to be inquisitive – but should I be right in thinking that you are a Daughter of Eve?”

The prophet Isaiah reminds us of our origins: “All you who are serious about right living and committed to seeking God, ponder the rock from which you were hewn: Abraham, your father, and Sarah, who bore you” (51:1-2). Abraham, who left the familiar without knowing where he was going, yet God led him on His way and made him fruitful.

Jesus praises his Father because of the things revealed to children - the same things which He’d hidden from the wise and learned (Matthew 11:25). Without puzzlement, wonder and adventurous curiosity we’ll easily conclude, like Peter: “Nothing there!” After all, we already know the remit of our job, the scope of the mission field, the direction of our strategy and the limitations of our relationships.

Without such wondering the heart closes down.

A lack of curiosity deters us from stretching our worldview, developing our theology and imagining our world anew. Whereas, as James Hollis writes: “The world is more magical, less predictable, more autonomous, less controllable, more varied, less simple, more infinite, less knowable, more wonderfully troubling than we could have imagined being able to tolerate when we were young” (Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life).

Remembering our forefather Abraham makes us mindful of ‘the kind of God’ who is with us. Isaiah continues: “Think of it! One solitary man when I called him, but once I blessed him, he multiplied.” Likewise, God will comfort our ruins, transform our dead ground and fill it with exuberance and laughter, thankful voices and melodies (51:3).

In response to Mr Tumnus’ question about how she’d entered Narnia, Lucy says: “I – I got in through the wardrobe in the spare room.” So, as we’ve entered 2013, may our curiosity lead us prayerfully and soulfully to new people, conversations, ideas and places. And when you’re asked how you found this job/place/forum/insight, I trust you’ll find yourself saying: “I just went to work today”; “I just had a coffee with a friend”; “I just read my Bible…”

Let the 2013 adventures begin. Let’s wander around the landscape and explore – maybe even get thoroughly ‘lost’ - knowing He will lead us in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:24). The Spirit of adventure will guide us. We will see new things revealed and will grow in trusting that God is found on the roads we do not know (Isiaiah 42:14-16). For, wherever those roads may lead us, Aslan’s there.

Marijke Hoek, Forum for Change co-ordinator