Well, it’s been a while since RevTechnoHubby typed anything on here. Partly a very busy return from my sauntering around the canals, as my colleague was on her sabbatical and our Curate had taken up a new post before my return. Partly the chance to reconnect with family properly over the summer holidays. Partly a nasty bug in September which was a close to flu as I’ve been for a while.
But I think the main reason is that my 90 odd blogs during my sabbatical were a huge gift of grace. God gave me that time, and that staggering array of images at that time, and in those places. I had time to be attentive to the voice and prompting of the Holy Spirit, and one of the challenges of returning has been to find that in daily life.
So here I am, with a new pattern for my week that sees Mondays as days to ponder, refresh, renew, read, draw closer into the arms of God and to do so (using a word which I really loathe but can’t find better as I sit) “intentionally”.
And as I sat today in Sheffield Cathedral, where I was ordained just a shade over 14 years ago, reading a wonderful book about The Song of Songs I was struck again by an image which helped me to explore the wonderful depth of God’s character and nature. And this is it….
Charlie Cleverly, whose excellent book on The Song of Songs is my reading matter for the next few weeks, writes of a family holiday by the coast, where…
[the family said] how they felt connected’, of how they felt “remade’ or just rested’. Is it that the closeness of nature can do this if you are not used to it? There is a connection to the land and sea that brings re-creation of the soul, and with this comes rest. This happens when we get close to creation, perhaps because behind it we are aware of the Creator. We sense deep down that “the sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land’
And I reflected on the places that are for me special places of closeness and intimacy with God; The Holy Island of Lindisfarne and the community at Lee Abbey in North Devon. And I also reflected on those times when I have been overwhelmed by the beauty of this world, or its pain, and my thoughts have been inexorably drawn towards God – on a beach in Biarritz many years ago, contemplating the pain of a broken relationship; at Cape Point in South Africa, contemplating the vastness and beauty of the ocean; on a beach in Karachi, realising that the next land to the south is covered in Penguins and Ice; on a beach in Blackpool during a particularly difficult event, with the storm tides lashing the sand.
Coastlines have drawn humans since the beginning of time – there is something about being on the border between this world and something bigger – standing on the edge of the infinite. A place of sunlight and joy, or of storm and death.
As we stand on the shore, we are reminded of our place standing on the borderlands between this world and God’s kingdom. On the edges of this world, where God is to be found. Sometime beautiful and tranquil, other times powerful and stormy, but awesome in both situations.
Where are you today? Are you in a storm, or sunlight? Know that on the coast these both can come, but God is there, and the infinite ocean of his love is safe… And one day, we will venture out to sea, leaving this world, to explore the wonders that lie beyond the far horizon.
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!! Especially with Jesus.
I wonder, will there be sandcastles on the other shore? I hope so.