Heading north (10-09-21)
A Bible Reading: Psalm 24. 1 - 6 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seasand established it on the waters. Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lordand vindication from God their Saviour. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.
A Thought Last week I headed north on the train to Scotland. I was looking forward to travelling along the Northumberland coast with its fantastic views of the Farne Islands and Holy Island. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered I was travelling up the west side of the country instead, the result of opting for a cheaper ticket! However, I was in for the new and unexpected delights of an unfamiliar landscape.
As I travelled north, I found myself gazing out over vast fields, scattered with large bales of recently harvested straw. I experienced a strange sense of reassurance seeing the harvest safely gathered in.
There were still expansive views out to sea across Morecambe Bay and later the Firth of Forth and Tay estuary, views from the train giving a higher vantage point and new perspective. Off the Scottish coast I could see numerous gas platforms, a pertinent reminder of where some of the resources I take for granted actually come from.
I passed between the high peaks of the Pennines and the Lake District, then onwards through the softer rolling hills of the Scottish Borders, frequently clothed in dense woodland and bathed in glorious sunlight. One hidden surprise was an embankment of willowherb, a common weed I seem to spend most of my time trying to remove from the Rectory garden. The steep bank was densely covered with willowherb, some still a deep vibrant pink, some already displaying thick white fluffy seedheads. The effect was stunning, a completely unexpected display of natural beauty.
The words of Psalm 24 immediately sprang to mind… ‘The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it’. One of the unexpected blessings of the lockdowns has been a renewed appreciation of the natural world around us. I know I have become more observant and more grateful for simple beauty. Creation holds such amazing wonders and delights as well as rich resources to bless us and sustain us. Covid has forced us to seriously consider our environment and our own mortality. May it also encourage us to become a generation who seek the face of our Creator God.
A Prayer Creator God, thank you for the natural beauty which surrounds us. Give us wisdom to take care of your good gifts and not take them for granted. Amen.
Indescribable By Laura Story and Jesse Reeves sung by Chris Tomlin