Yesterday evening I went to a low clifftop to eat a picnic supper and watch the sunset. I suppose it’s about 6 miles away, not far at all, but I’d never been there before. I was taken by a sweet friend, a man with a tender heart, a searching mind, (which surely has to be the best combo?) and a bag load of food (Ah, ok, that’s the best combo). Oh, and two gentle dogs. Good fellah.
There aren’t many people who can talk about the things that really matter, that give joy and sometimes hurt. Not many people risk the hurt to find the joy. And there are even fewer people who can not only explore their own thoughts and ideas but are brave enough to share them. Some of the things we wanted to say, we couldn’t. We didn’t have the words for those thoughts, for those feelings, overwhelmed by our appreciation of the evening, and of God. We spoke of joy, and desire, forgiveness, shame, guilt, of loved ones dead and gone, of hurts and delights, of childhoods and of the people we love now. I’m not sure that we came to any great discovery, but there was such peace there, a relaxed openness and acceptance, a reaching up to God and the knowledge that He reached down to us.
Clouds, rocks, slate standing like tombstones, razor-sharp, waves, a small dinghy riding the choppy sea, two bent figures rowing, birds flying low, a dappled beaten sky, mossy clifftop grass speckled with flowers, these are a few of my favourite things. If we’d only had some whiskers on kittens our joy would have been complete.
Damn! I wish I could talk to you for more than a couple of sentences without sliding off into silliness. But there you go, I can’t.
I suppose you’d go a long way to find two people as different as we are; Me, a near-70 yr old woman, a widow and mother and grandma, ex -military police, ex -nurse, writer, iconoclast, flat footed and lumpy and (as Sean said with sort of dawning realisation “You’re quite eccentric, aren’t you?”) and Sean, much younger, a poet, a great and passionate gardener (I’ve never so much as pulled a weed), a tad flamboyant (yes, you are) gay, stylish, poshly Mancunian, living in three different places all at the same time (no, not omnipresent, more transient). But there we sat on the clifftop and together we recited The Lord’s Prayer.
So today I’ve scrolled back through the sermons on my church website and listened again to a wonderful series on that prayer of Jesus Christ, and on our prayer life. One of the amazing truths in those sermons is that every time Jesus prayed, He addressed God as ‘Father’. Last night we talked about fathers, a painful subject for both of us. I think that’s what led us into The Lord’s Prayer. And then we remembered the verse ‘where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them’. Well, we didn’t exactly gather in His name, we just went to the clifftop to watch the sunset and eat ham sandwiches, but it turned into a small and select service of worship, for two very different people who have battered around the world, ricocheting from one mistake to another, but have ended up in a moment of tranquility, on the edge of the Irish Sea.
And our Father was there with us.
For the sermon go to cardigan.church/sermons and search for 11th March 2018, ‘First things first’.