We have been planning a braai for The Gathering on New Year’s Day for quite a while now but I don’t think any of us could have guessed just how significant today would be. The day dawned beautifully and quickly turned into the hottest, calmest day we have had in months – perfect for a braai. We had bought enough food to feed a small army, ordered a jumping castle for the children, tidied up the garden and had had a stern talking to Rosie dog to behave herself!!

What a day of fun we have had! One thing that is clear is that in a relatively short space of time we have grown into a family who love each other, like each other and who would do anything for one another – what a privilege! We haven’t heard so much laughter ringing out from our garden for a long time as children devised new ways to jump onto the jumping castle (yes really!); Ziggy fell out of the hammock(!) and the new Chairman of the Ministry of Eating was announced from amongst us!

Amongst the fun and laughter, fellowshipping and getting to know each other better we also knew that God had told us to take time today to perform a symbolic act of letting go of the past in order to move forward into all that He has for us this year. Michael Angier writes, “In order to embrace the new, we must release the old. A trapeze artist cannot swing from one bar to another without letting go. An important part of preparing for the New Year is to review the past year—to release it—and to learn from it”. As a result we had all collected various items we had relating to Tree of Life church and together we threw them on to our braai fire before using the ashes to cook our meat to eat – just as Elisha did in 1 Kings 19:21. This was quite an emotional time but very healing as we all gathered with one heart and mind, all filled with a desire to be released from the past and to move into all that God has for us. What a privilege to serve together and to lead this special bunch of people – The Gathering (International)!

Preparing to burn the past

Burning the past, especially old Tree of Life stuff

Laying the past to rest

This was very powerful as we symbolically burnt the past

Everyone burnt something

Ziggy overseeing Dean's braai skills

Ziggy showing how it should be done!

Ziggy with Rebecca, Yanko & Sarah

Grub up!

Mercy led us in the "ministry of eating"

Ziggy & Eli

Gloria & Chiko

Terance leading the charge onto the bouncy castle

Go Terance!


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