Last Saturday evening it poured with rain when we had our annual new fire service at the Cathedral. Trevor, the dean, pointed me in the right direction, the choir was in extraordinary voice and everything went as smoothly and beautifully as it should. At the end of the service Clemency told me that we were to have a few extras at home that night: some young hitchhikers had found their way into the service and had nowhere to sleep. What with us not being short of space and everything, our place seemed a logical answer to their immediate need. It turns out they were students at a Discipleship Training Course being run by YWAM (Youth With A Mission) and Saturday was the first day of their Faith Week.
When the course curriculum gets round to faith, the kids are not expected to exegete the main Pauline references nor to paraphrase the principle meanings of the Greek pisteuo. Instead they are given $20 each, dumped at some remote spot and told to return to base in a week, having depended entirely on prayer for their sustenance in the meantime. Pernille from Norway, Kesia from Hawaii and Danny from Vancouver Island had been left at Windwhistle earlier in the day (Windwhistle!) By 9 pm their prayer and Providence had led them to the Octagon in the pouring rain which is where Clemency and I stepped in to do our angel impersonation.
Next day they rose earlier than most people their age and asked if there was anything they could do to be of service. We told them Easter Day was a rest day, and we'd think about it. We wracked our brains to come up with stuff they might do: old ladies to be helped across streets or kids to be minded for instance but nothing came to mind. Not even the most obvious, which was that we ourselves had a daunting task before us, namely to shift house. The list of things to be done before we could shift was so long and our timetable over the last month had been, for both of us, so crowded and chaotic that we had just put the whole moving thing into the too hard basket and ignored it, telling ourselves we'd do it in the school holidays. Which began, so we suddenly realised, the next day, on Easter Monday.
So, on Monday when the penny dropped, we stopped being angels and became angelees. These three showed a formidable capacity for work. On Monday they painted two bedrooms at our new house, cleaned out our woodshed, helped transport the wood across town, weeded part of the garden and scrubbed down our pantry. By the time they left early this morning, all of the things we had needed to get done before the move had been done, including stripping out our enormous basement and piling most of the contents into a skip. Now lest's be frank about this: I can't honestly say we had prayed too much about our needs - we hadn't had the time or the energy - but God acted anyway in a way which surprised us with its timeliness and sheer extravagance. The carpet layers come on Monday. The burly guys with the truck come on Thursday. Windows are cleaned and books are cartoned up. We've got a whole week of the holidays left and we're all ready to go. Who would ever have believed it possible?
There was something else I was gifted with in all this, which is a reminder of the nature of faith. I'll talk about it on Sunday when I go to Lumsden, and perhaps on here in a day or two.