Key Word:- HOPE
Title:- Of Angels of Protection & Pyramids of Hope
Ezekiel 36:11 I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.
I come from a mining community. A town once circled by pit head shafts and rotating wheels, dropping men like moles, into the deep darkness to dig out that black burning fossil called coal.
Just around the corner from I where I lived, Poolsbrook was once a grim dormitory village for “off shift” workers, and like a frightened puppy, lay submissively on it’s bony back, its bent little legs upright and quivering beneath the menacing, grey and growing, slithering slagheaps, whimpering prayers that the terrors of Aberfaan might not visit them there one too wet Tuesday.
Poolsbrook held the felt persona of the ruined black-faced miners, returning to the surface; always coughing, always tired and sweaty, spitting up its own blood in coal dusted coated phlegm. I always remember moving through it quickly, for Poolsbrook, was never a place to stay but always somewhere to pass through and for any youngster born there, growing up under the coal slack grey, Poolsbrook was always somewhere to get out of.
The final closing of the coal industry prefixed by long and running, scabby battles with bussed in policemen, meant in the late 1980’s the village finally rolled over and seemingly breathed its last, leaving the scene, raped, ripped and ravaged. The last turn of the pithead wheel ushered in all the terrors of mass unemployment witnessed at the end of the 20th century: collapse of community, splits in family, spliffs of dope and a deluge of desperateness, drugs and crime, together with a dark felt hopelessness and huge male teenage suicide.
Friends, I paint this grim picture today for three reasons. First because that is the way I remember Poolsbrook as a child. Secondly because in my brief visits back after the long miners strike in the 1980’s, that is what I witnessed there, but thirdly and most remarkably, because from the distance of the 21st century, Poolsbrook seems to live again!
Over the years, government inward investment and redevelopment have led to the building of a pyramid which will be taller than that other recent sign of renewal and rejuvenation ‘The Angel of the North’. Both monuments at the heart of governement killed communities are testimonies to an attempt at successful change and area revitalization. The Poolsbrook pyramid will be seen by millions, as that major artery of transportation, the MI motorway, winds its way through that once industrialized Derbyshire. My oh my how do things change!
Laying aside the politics and maybe poor choice of spending, the message of this pyramid is of change and hope. Imagine if, twenty-five years ago, you had grabbed a youngster bouncing his ball against the walls of the grey, back to back houses and whispered in his ears that as a man he would see a preaching pyramid shouting in his fields! I tell you, he would not have believed you but now to all who see this pyramid, it shouts with defiance and thankfulness for the village of Poolsbrook saying, “We stand for something! We are not forsaken or forgotten! We are not dead! Life lives here!” So, Poolsbrook today, like Egypt of old, has now its pyramid. Who would have believed it!?
Fellow Christian, destitute, empty and distraught. I speak to you today my friend and remind you of the goodness of God our Father, who is always more willing to bless than to blast. The light at the end of the tunnel is not a train, but His goodness speeding toward you. So walk among your ruins; repent where necessary and begin to believe that God is good and is in the business of such royal redemption, that from your heart of faith you may write upon your fallen towers and salted fields now flooded with grief, these true and remarkable words: bigger, better, best! The ruins of your life marked by devastation all around you, all stinking with the stench of loss and the lethargy, can all be rebuilt, rediscovered re-invigorated and renewed with strength, yes, they can be made more beautiful than before; can be better, bigger, best. Do you not know that the latter things of God are always better than the first? Do you not know that God’s gifts given later are always better bigger and longer lasting than the first gifts given? You see dear friend, restoration, renewal and redemption are all in the hands of our gracious God, who delights to paint your life afresh in these, His glorious colours three. Look in your forgotten fields for I tell you that in God, the best is always yet to come and who knows, someone may have placed a protecting angel or planted a shouting pyramid there for all the world to see? Stranger things have happened!
Listen:- For indeed I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bear young; I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings. Then you shall know that I am the LORD. Ezekiel 36:9-12
Pray: - Oh God of New Beginnings, begin again in me today, in Jesus name I pray, amen.
ADDENDUM | I hear that Governement Cut Backs means that as of 2010 - the Pyramid will never be built!