A friend explained recently how her family had a wonderful day out at the beach during the summer. But after the two-hour trip to drive there, it was only when her 6-year-old son said, “Mummy, we haven’t checked the tide times!” did my friend realise that their magical day of swimming in the sea just might be off!
That conversation reminded me of how much I enjoy staying on Lindisfarne. If you haven’t been to Holy Island, as it’s also called, I thoroughly recommended it and urge you to stay on the island, even if just for one night. The tourists and coaches may cross the causeway when the tide allows, but the peace, beauty and drama of the island sing all the more clearly when you’re left there, cut off by the waves. There’s something life-giving in the unforced rhythm of the sea, which we cannot control, reminding us we are beholden by something far bigger than ourselves.
In our fast-moving world where everything is becoming more fluid, there are ever changing ways to relate to each other and a million and one new possibilities every day, life can feel very exhausting and hard to keep up with. Sometimes the speed of the changes that seem to be happening around us can be overwhelming.
The harvest season that we have been remembering in church and with our school celebrates the rhythms of life with particular joy for this time of blessing. With the extra sun and heat this summer harvest has come very early in some cases! Whenever we celebrate harvest, it’s a marker in the sand, a time to be thankful – even when life is hard and the harvest is poor. It’s a time to be thankful for good gifts given to us by God in creation: the seasons, the sun, the rain, those who every year plough, sow and gather and do it all again the following year. It reminds me of God’s faithfulness to the world I believe He’s created, His constancy despite the fast-paced and ever-changing world around us. It also reminds me to be thankful and play my part in looking after what He’s given us, for just as things advance in some areas, the world in some parts is a fragile place, and not all human progress seeks to honour it.
I pray we may be thankful this season, for the gift of creation around us, for the things we treasure about our environment. And I pray that we take the opportunity to commit to care for it once again, so that others may find hope in its beauty and constancy for generations to come. For just as God is faithful to his creation, so may we be faithful to him.