This Weary Pilgrimage - Four

My posting about the recent wilderness theme camp our church held up near Ruakaka are dragging out, but I wanted to at least describe the station of Sunday's Prayer Walk that I manned, the one about the opponents we face on the journey. my inspiration as I've said came from Bruce Wilkinson's parable of the Dream Giver, the tale of Ordinary who was called to discover the dream for which he was created. Earlier stations had used the Exodus narrative to look at "What's in your Pack?", and "Who is travelling with you?", while later ones focussed on the guidance for the journey (pillars of cloud and fire) and the sustenance provided (water, manna and quails), as well as the Biblical images of tentdwelling.

My station was based at a tall abseiling tower on the camp property, one which spoke to me, when I first saw it, of the giants mentioned in Numbers 13. Wilkinson's book The Dreamgiver describes two kinds of opposition - giants and bullies. Giants were enemies Ordinary faced along the way, opponents who attacked and placed barriers to his pilgrimage, and Bullies were people closer to home, who undermined and threatened in more subtle ways. I didn't have time to go into these in detail, since each station was to take just ten minutes with each of the six tribal groups, but the images certainly informed my "talkie bits. " I did paraphrase the story, from Numbers 13: 17 – 33, of the twelve spies, sent by Moses to reconnoitre the land before the Hebrew invasion. Ten came home dispirited and afraid, but Joshua and Caleb felt confident of success of a conquest of the land of milk and honey. They see huge productivity (grapes that needed to be carried on a pole) but the reason for the debilitating fear of the others was the giants of the land, who made the spies feel like grasshoppers, and in the end the majority view was favoured, delaying the entrance into Canaan for many more years.

I neglected to mention that before we embarked on the prayer walk itself, each tribe had constructed a "giant" from recycled boxes, plastic, fabric and paper, and given some thought to the social and spiritual giants we face in our own journey. “giant” from hall. These giants were brought with them to Station Three, and after hearing about Joshua and Caleb we talked about the enemies of fear, prejudice, rage, low self esteem etc that keep us from fulfilling our dream. Most had already been named and the labels stuck on the sculpture.We also used a couple of large mirrors to remind ourselves that some of the giants we face are of our own making. We then learned an old song based on 2 Tim 1: 7: “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind.” The giants were nailed or tied onto the tower and we then marched around it singing the chorus. The last group also tied a large red ribbon to signify the final defeat of these opponents in the Cross of Jesus Christ.

I really enjoyed leading this section of the prayer walk, and noted how some who had never heard the (somewhat cheesy) chorus before, wrote down its profound words. The tribes went on to do other activities, like pitch a tent, navigate a maze mown in the hay paddock, and share an Easter egg communion. Our theme song for the weekend was Brooke Fraser's Desert Song, and this tied in extremely well with all aspects of the Camp and especially the Wilderness Prayer Walk. All in all I'm told it was spiritual experience of a very different kind, for both adults and kids, and one we will not hesitate to use again.

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