We felt that there is real significance in the name "Vulindlela". It does mean opening the way but has stronger connotations of blazing a trail and making a way where there has been no way before. So often people leave conferences like this and then are frustrated when they encounter resistance back in their home churches and dioceses. We feel the Lord is saying very strongly, "Don't wait for others to move the roadblocks; blaze a trail, find a way to proceed where there has been no way before. Fire doesn't stop for obstacles, it goes around them.
We sensed that this might connect with the word from Craig Stewart referring to Thomas and calling us to move towards the wounds, wherever we encounter them, because that is where we truly prove the presence of the resurrected Christ. I (Rob) was very conscious throughout the conference of the simultaneous crisis being played out on our university campuses because of constant messages on my phone regarding the front-line engagement of members of my and other churches in peace monitoring and mediation.
The challenge is always to make sure that the conference experience and its call to our hearts, is not left behind when we leave. We felt this with particular intensity with regard to this "Vulindlela" call. It was a big part of what the Lord said to the listening team at the last Anglicans Ablaze Conference, and we feel it is even more urgent now. We will face increasing situations of crisis in each of our local contexts and in them Jesus will give us opportunity to blaze new trails.
The Lord said to us "I heed the cry of my people and I have come down to rescue them." What are we crying out for? Are we listening and responding to the revelation God is giving us? Are we willing to follow his ways and not our ways? We particularly felt the Lord is calling us to hear the many cries of need from our young people. They will lead us into the places of woundedness where Jesus' resurrection presence will be made known.
We felt the Lord assuring us that, "You have not lost your fire." We Anglicans are not just a church concerned about maintenance and preserving our structures. We are still a church uniquely placed to step into the public issues in out nations with a confident voice and, in the power of the Holy Spirit raise up a prophetic banner for the Lord. Like Advocate Thuli, we too are called to an Esther role in this time.
The wonderful depth, unity and enthusiasm of our worship shows that there is "something very good" here. We were directed to Psalm 133 that where there is unity God commands his blessing. Also we were reminded of the praise singers going ahead of Joshua's army in the conquest of Jericho. Our worship in unity builds a platform for discipleship in unity.