From the Pen of Rev Steve

Recent copies of the minister's letters from Rev Steve. These are reproduced from the monthly Newsletter.

March 2024: “Lost in Wonder”

Many of you will have read about an initiative which the church in Sidmouth will be involved in during the Folk Festival this August entitled “Lost in Wonder” which will revolve around a sofa on wheels! If, however, you don’t know what I am talking about then please come and ask. The basic premise is that you invite people to come and sit and share a moment when they have been lost in wonder. You see, it is my view that those moments of wonder are not the domain of people who profess to have a faith alone, but can be experienced by everyone.

One such encounter was experienced by Moses in the Old Testament. This reluctant prophet of God was taken aback one day when walking the land. In themselves a burning bush wasn’t that unusual, but there was something about that bush that made him look deeper. The bush was burning but however long he stood there, the fire did not consume it. I’m not sure it would have been high on my hit list for ways to wow Moses, but it did the trick and it caused him to “turn aside” from what he had been doing, from where his mind had been. “Lost in Wonder” moments do that to you, they take you from the familiar, offer a different perspective and change the course of your day. Or if your name happens to be Moses, they change the course of the rest of your life.

Moses is instructed to “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Part of the interpretation of this text is Moses recognising that he is at that very moment “lost in wonder” and sees the events on the hillside for what they are…, an encounter with the Divine. In addition, though, the taking off of the sandals is a coming home, a point where he has found his destiny and purpose and all is complete.

I’m not one for taking my shoes off, I don’t readily walk into someone's house and slip my brogues off, although in Korean culture it is expected that you would do just that, and they provide indoor shoes or slippers for their guests. I must confess that I am still a little uncomfortable with this. However I readily take my shoes off when I get home each evening. It tells me to relax, switch off from the responsibilities of the day and just “be”. In a way part of my reading of Moses’s encounter is that he found his “home”, his place of fulfilment.

It may be that when we wheel the sofa around Sidmouth in August some people choose to take off their shoes and curl up on the sofa, because in their place of wonder they have found a peace, a home coming.

Moses had a moment of dwelling in that sacred space without sandals on, yet that moment was all but brief. Soon he had to put the sandals on and face many perils and difficulties, yet the strength to achieve all of that was because the burning bush allowed him to “turn aside” from what he was doing and find his “home” and his peace.
Continue to be “lost in wonder” during this season of Lent and beyond.

Every Blessing
From the Pen of Rev Steve
Seeing the events on the hillside for what they are…