Saturday, 26 April 2014

Reflections on Pilgrimage

So this is kind of delayed, but I've been a bit busy, so here are some thoughts on the Bath Abbey Pilgrimage 2014.

The Bible is full of people travelling from one region to another, but one of the least known journeys is that of Abram. Already well on in years Abram heard the call of God while living in a place called Ur (I haven't forgotten, that is actually it's name). Abram did not have the Bible to find out who this God was and in fact how he knew it was God calling him is something of a mystery. Nevertheless he packed his bags and set off around the desert, passing through the mighty city of Babylon and along the rivers making up the Fertile Crescent. He continued all the way to Egypt some 1500 miles away.
     God did not just call him to go on major hike, but promised him that he would be blessed with a Land, a Nation and Offspring as numerous as the stars. For Abram (who became Abraham on the journey) to believe in a God that no-one knew anything about, was one thing, but to have faith that he would inherit a beautiful land, become the leader of a nation and, most of all, have children, when at the time he had none, is mind blowing.
     Abraham had to learn who God is and many times he tried to take matters into his own hands when his trust in God wavered. God was always faithful though, and settled him in the land of Canaan, which is today Israel. Then, when Abraham was 100, his wife gave birth to a son, from whom the nation of the Israelites came.

This was the story we followed as we also travelled to our home, and we, like Abraham, came to learn more of who God is along the way. We discovered more of His love, peace and joy; we hoped and trusted in Him and He did not let us down.
     The Pilgrimage does not end there, though, it continues on in our everyday lives. The world may not have changed, but we have and it is up to us to live in this new understanding of God.

You’re the joy, joy, joy lighting my soul,
the joy, joy, joy making me whole.
Though I'm broken, I am running
into your arms of love.
          (Joy, Rend Collective)

Monday, 21 April 2014


I can't believe quite how much I've fitted into the past 15 days, but this is how they went:

Shot home straight from school on Friday 4th, the first time I'd been back since New Year, and had a relatively pleasant 5 days of relaxing, mixed with getting my head around my 3rd essay. A trip to the dentist revealed that I've got to have a tooth pulled out in the not too distant future, but brushing over that, I also wandered over to Nottingham to watch an afternoon of cricket at Trent Bridge, my favourite way to unwind.
After returning to Bath on Wednesday 9th, I met my mentor to plan the coming term, much of which I will be teaching. Then it was back to the essay before Epidemic Life put me in the mood for Holy Week. A mixed weekend of Spirit-filled worship and brain-numbing writing ensued and passed at the speed of light, but it was fine because there was still another week to go!
Then it was a delightful return to Bath Abbey for the annual, Holy Week Pilgrimage, this year from Crosscombe to Bath. We could not of timed it better, or God could not have blessed us more. Four days of perfect weather, beautiful landscape and the best company I could wish to walk with, followed and filled me with peace, hope and joy.

Sadly four days of not working in the world of education can set you back a long way and on Thursday 17th I returned to my desk with some degree of panic. Since then it has been early starts (I work best at around 7am) and tiring afternoons as I try to bring this essay into some kind of order, as well as planning out my lessons for next week! I feel this is a sad way to spend Easter weekend, the most special and glorious of the Christian calendar, but sometimes, I guess, these things have to be done.

Thanks to much support, mostly in the way of prayer, I'm now feeling more peaceful, and with the sun shining again and the Classic fm Hall of Fame on the radio there are worse ways to end a holiday.

I hope your Easter has been as blessed, although not quite so busy, as mine, and that you have had time to stop and wonder again on death and resurrection of Jesus and on His great love for you.

Friday, 18 April 2014

The gathering storm

A pilgrimage has been made,

and a meal has been eaten.
The mountain has been climbed,
and the waiting has begun.
The clouds begin to gather,
and the wind begins to moan.
The people huddle closer,
and they watch
Creator of the World, lifted up.
Innocent one, sentenced to death.
A freely given sacrifice
All because of love

Saturday, 12 April 2014

God of Wonder

Sometimes you have to wonder: what is the purpose of far off stars and galaxies, and how did they get there?
Many times I have wondered: if God created the heavens, the moons and the stars, and such majestic things, can He really be interested in me?
Yet, not only is He interested, He has thoughts beyond count, boundless love, and greater care for me than I can ever know, and so it is for you.
He is a God of wonder and so I will live in wonder.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honour.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.
Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
                                  Psalm 8

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Sketching - Part 2

Not wanting to say too much about a tough couple of weeks, I've decided to post pictures of some more sketching I've been doing...