Can you bear to hear about another morning of paddling? If not, look away now.
Some things are just perfect. I’m at my scruffy old desk in a silent house, and by my right hand is a large mug of coffee. The mug is fine bone china, and the coffee is strong, my favourite blend, but today as a treat (it’s Saturday!) there’s also a generous dollop of hot milk. The foam is creamy and golden, oh, here – see for yourself.
And, yes, that’s Captain Kirk keeping guard.
This is a perfect moment, in the middle of a perfect morning, at the start of what is going to be a really really challenging day. (Come onnn! This is me! You knew it couldn’t last) But the day so far has made me think of perfection, or maybe peace, or it could be joy, or happiness, or all of the above.
I’ve just returned from two fabulous hours on the beach, the dogs are fed and already dozing, and now I have a half hour to talk to you, my chitterlings. A fabulous start to any day.
The sky was cloudy but the air was warm and on the shore the world seemed wrapped in calm. After some time paddling with only the sighing sea and the distant cry of gulls to break the silence, as Percy chased the foam and Pip careened off after a flock of sandpipers, I listened to David Suchet reading Philippians. I’ve heard it so often in the last couple of months that you’d really expect me to know it off by heart by now, but I don’t. Then we sploshed along the beach to the estuary, where we sat on a log, in the hopes that the dogs would dry and the wet sand would fall off. Some hope!
That’s when I met with Peter, the apostle. I love Peter! I think he’s the sort of bloke you could have a good amble with, chatting and discussing and arguing. I think he’d enjoy paddling and then a milky coffee and maybe even a piece of bara brith and a laugh. I think if you sat next to him in church you might both get the giggles (you reading this, Lisa?) So, I like Peter. I went to the church website and clicked on a sermon on John 21, and there he was, talking to Jesus. Or to be more accurate, Jesus was talking to him. And I sat on a log in 2019 in West Wales and really, really, there he was, Peter, and there He was, Jesus, and the morning was PERFECT.
In that sermon we were invited to imagine… how was Peter feeling… what he had experienced… what he knew about Jesus after his three years with him… what did he remember….. And I always love being invited to imagine. Being ‘given permission’ to let the imagination roll out. I love that the sparse details we have of Peter are so revealing, that we know him so well even after 2000 years, that we feel we understand him, that we see ourselves in him, and that through him we meet Jesus. I love that, in hearing how Jesus spoke to Peter, we learn more about Jesus.
The Bible, what can I say about the Bible without gushing? I can’t. I really can’t. Whenever I talk about the Bible I feel a gush coming on! In the Bible we meet them all. Lovely Peter, knowledgeable instructive Paul (I don’t ever want to be stuck in a lift with Paul), loving John, poor lost Judas….Moses, and my fave Isaiah …. Oh, and Job (he’s another great person to meet) … a cast of thousands. And the Man Himself, Jesus. To sit on the beach, on my log, and look from Peter to Jesus… like someone at Wimbledon watching the most exciting match in history. Peter… Jesus… Peter… Jesus…. PERFECTION
Ahhh, flip me, folks. My half hour with you is up. The day is transitioning and I have to go.
Thank you for staying with me for these minutes, for being part of my perfect morning.
As I drove home something was nagging at me, about joy, and I had a vague feeling it was from Peter’s writing, so I’ve just looked it up. “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy….”
Peter, mate! You’re not wrong. An inexpressible and glorious joy.