Friday, 30 April 2010

Thursday 29th April

As I sat praying in the Chapel of the Incarnation the thought of patient waiting on God came to me. I opened my eyes just as the sunlight came through the glass window in the door. Initially there was a fleeting glimpse of the pattern of the cross on the wooden bench, a cloud came over the sun and once again it was gone. A few moments later it reappeared.

In that moment I recognised that God has a plan for each one of us but will only reveal it to us when the time is right. We may have the odd glimpse of God's plan – a foretaste of what is to come, but it is only when God is ready we will see more fully what the plan is for us. Even then there may still be things we don't fully understand. In the photo of the Celtic cross there is one section of the "ring" (the circle of God's complete love) missing. To me this appears to represent the bits that God has chosen not to reveal to us yet. This can be seen as the stepping out in faith, we know and trust that God has a plan and although it has not been fully shown we act because of our trust in God.

To me the photo speaks of having to learn patience, to wait for God to reveal his plan, in God's time not my time! This came to me as a salutary reminder for the end of my retreat.

Wednesday 28th April - A Pilgrimage to Lindisfarne

The morning started in the car park by the causeway over to Lindisfarne saying Morning Prayer in the cars as it was so wet outside. There was real feeling as the psalm was read "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" This sense of foreboding continued as we heard the meditation for the day "Suffering not yet filled up waits out there for you..." "...There is suffering out there yet to be endured, yet to be known..."We began to wonder what we had let ourselves in for!

By the time we had finished saying the office the rain had stopped, a real miracle! As we walked the Pilgrims path the light became brighter and the sky had silvery streaks in it. Some of the photos from that time look as through they were black and white. There were interesting reflections in the pools of sea water - both of the cloud and of the other walkers, Karen's bright red waterproof helps prove that they were actually colour photos!

We walked along the traditional route of pilgrims. There was firm sand and squelchy mud as well as sea water to walk over and through. The mud was very slippy and there was danger of falling. At points you sunk into the mud, well above your ankles until reaching a firm footing underneath. It was quite black and smelly under the surface felt a bit like clay slip, oozing up between your toes.

Aidan and his monks didn't go for an easy option living on a tidal island. It took about an hour and a half to walk over. It's hard to imagine having to do that before starting the journey to wherever they were going, or returning home to the monastery after days away only to have that slow arduous walk to face.

In walking the Pilgrims path you had to concentrate on the journey rather than the arrival. Important to look ahead occasionally to see where you were going and that you were sticking to the route but most of the time concentration was on where you were and what was underfoot. This became really crucial when your feet began to feel so cold and then numb so you couldn't feel them - you had to watch where you were putting them and think about the journey.

Sir Walter Scott wrote...

The tide did now its flood-mark gain,
And girdled in the Saint's domain:
For, with the flow and ebb its style
Varies from continent to isle;
Dry shod o'er sands, twice every day,
The pilgrims to the shrine find way;
Twice every day, the waves efface
Of staves and sandall'd feet the trace.

The sense of ebb and flow, of withdrawl and engagement is reflected in this prayer attributed to Aidan

Leave me alone with God as much as may be.
As the tide draws the waters close in upon the shore,
Make me an island, set apart,
alone with you, God, holy to you.

Then with the turning of the tide
prepare me to carry your presence to the busy world beyond,
the world that rushes in on me
till the waters come again and fold me back to you.

Tuesday 27th April - Bamburgh and Ross Sands

I'm going to post two photos today as I can't choose between them.

We began our pilgrimage in the shadow of Aidan at Bamburgh where we walked through the village past the castle to the beach where we said Midday prayer and had lunch.

Pilgrim's feet; these boots are made for walking.

In the afternoon we drove along the coast and then walked to Ross Sands. We had a couple of hours to spend on the beach to use as we wished; to walk, to paddle, to sit, to think (and to sleep!)

There was a lot of driftwood on the beach, small pieces and large lumps. Some just wood alone, other pieces strangled by fishing nets and rope. How often in life do we feel like driftwood cast upon the shore? Not sure of where we will go next. Some of the roughness of the wood had been smoothed out by the action of the sea. The wood was lightened, bleached by the sun and salt. The abrasive nature of the salt, the stones and the waves and their gentle smoothing action could be seen.

Monday 26th April - Journey to Northumbria

Set off by train to spend a few days with the Northumbria Community. During the journey I tried writing some poems. Today's photo doesn't really relate to my reflection but it has been a disjointed sort of day.


Routine laid aside

Everyday tasks left behind

Time is like a gift

Renewing, refreshing

Each minute a bonus

Allowing growth

To take hold

After the Storm

Sun breaking through the cloud

Peeping out

Like a child peering round the doorway

Will I be allowed to stay up or will I be sent back to bed?

Throwing off the duvet of cloud

Tentatively stretching

The yawning of the wind

Will I get up or do I turn over and go back to sleep?

The snore of thunder gone

The tears of rain dried up

The nightmare is over

Caressed and kissed better by the warmth of the sun.

Sunday, 25 April 2010


I'd planned to go into London this morning to take some photos of the marathon. Woke to find grey skies and forecast of rain so delayed my start. As the rain moved over I headed down to the station only to find the trains were cancelled due to problems in Stratford. Came home and made coffee!
Despite the rain the garden is still incredibly dry & the pond looking decidedly low.

Water - Anand Dixit

Water an elemental
Water a fundamental
Building block of life
Water of Life
Water of Death

Water in all religions
Water in all living things
Water in all countries
Water also used for barter

No life without water
No rife with water
No respect for water
Willful neglect of water

Water, for cooking
Water, for cleaning
Water, for drinking
Water, for living
Water, for dying

Water is the same
In all languages
Water is the same
To all living beings

Saturday, 24 April 2010

First day

It's been a strange day today, spent most of it home alone apart from Lucy & the chickens. Richard had a wedding in Elm Park & Calum was out with friends.
It feels very odd not having any preparation to do for services!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Almost started my Sabbatical

Day off today & went shopping in Romford. Bought loads of novels in Waterstones, hope to do some "fun reading" in the next three months. Beautiful sunshine, lots of flower photos while walking home.

Couldn't resist this sign written on the door of an ice cream delivery van...

Monday, 12 April 2010

emailing a photo

Hopefully there will be some lambs appearing. This was from our weekend away...

Trial posting

Here's one of my favourite buildings in Ipswich. I love the reflections of the other buildings in the glass, the mix of old and new together. Just to top the day off, Ipswich beat Reading later that afternoon!