Thursday, 31 October 2013

Reflections on a personal retreat

From October 29-31 I was on retreat. I went to Holy Island and spent two days being me and being with God. Here, I share just a few reflections from that time. It is not a complete account because retreats are deeply personal, but it is my attempt to share some glimpses of glory.


Coming to the causeway in the early morning. Thankfulness at the arriving and hopeful expectation of refreshment, challenge and time to be. Recognition, as always, that I am not in complete control, I will live by the rhythm of the tide for the next two days.

Psalm 40

I waited patiently for the Lord,
he inclined to me and heard my cry,
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
Out of the miry bog, 
And set my feet upon a rock making my steps secure

These words from the psalm resonated with me and stayed with me during the day.
My feet were firmly on the rock as I looked at the sea below

Held secure in the rock

Clinging to the rock and in the shelter of the rock


I had also listened to the musical setting of a Celtic blessing in my morning prayers. These words also stayed with me:

May the road rise ever before you,
May the wind be ever at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rain fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

A pool of tranquility - held in the hollow of God's hand
It was a beautiful and very windy day. For much of the time the wind was at my back. Then I came to the North Shore and looked down on the beach.
North Shore
The sand was blowing in a fine cloud over the beach, the swirling patterns were beautiful and strange. The land looked fluid.

Moving sand
The wind was now blowing at me and walking became hard work.
Eventually I walked as far as the causeway and began the long walk home. The pole marking the pilgrim's way, showed me that I was reaching the end of the journey and reminded me of the need for direction.

The last pole on the pilgrim's way.

O taste and see how gracious the Lord is
The evocative sight and sound of the sea
I dipped my fingers in the sea and then tasted the salty water. The scale of the North Sea a reminder of the magnitude of God's love. O taste and see.

Lindisfarne castle from the harbour
The castle is a tourist attraction, a reminder of the history of this place. The harbour is a working harbour. God is present in all places.

The fisherman returns home
Eternal Father, strong to save. The sea is perilous, thank God for this fisherman's safe return to harbour.


The colours at the end of the day
The shadows lengthen

Lighten our darkness Lord, we pray

A curiosity

These heifers came down to the beach and drank from the sea - I've never seen that before.

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