I was encouraging my Fitzroy community in last week’s sermon to look out for God speaking to them in their every day surroundings.
In some ways it was a hark back to my Light From Van Morrison VLOG a few weeks ago. In that I was suggesting that Morrison’s genius was finding a sense of wonder in ordinary things, many times on the streets of Belfast including Fitzroy.
Morrison I suggest was following William Blake who wrote:
To see a world in a grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
I then shared how God had spoken to me on my day off the previous Monday.
Janice and I love Ballycastle beach. For twenty two years now it has fascinated us. Every day the beach is different. The notorious Moyle tides can heave rocks from one side of the mile of sand to another over night. There are always new patterns. Sometimes lots of rocks, big ones high up the beach or smaller ones in various patterns. Other times there is more sand. The Margy River changes its shape through the beach regularly.
It is a perfect illustration of the shifting sands we have been living through in these Coronavirus Times. The uncertainty of lockdown seems steady compared to the opening up days we are now walking across - social distancing, who needs to quarantine and whether to wear masks or not.
Shifting sands across Ballycastle beach is generally a beautiful intrigue. A sense of wonder indeed, though those Moyle currents can be dangerous too.
It is walking across these shifting sands that Janice and I come across our favourite feature. It is about two thirds of the way across from the Margy River. When we take photos of the fabulous sunsets most summer evenings it is this that we always try to find a place for.
It is a rock, usually just a few feet out into the waves, mostly gentle but in the winter a lot more crashing. There it always is. No matter how the Moyle shifts the sands - steady!
Last week I was feeling a little frayed. My body needs a holiday. I was sneezing, coughing, feeling weary in mind as well as body. Then we reached the rock. Immediately my mind flicked the pages of the Scriptures. The Psalmist sings of God as a rock a few times and though rock is not mentioned Psalm 46 suggests a rock as everything shifts around about:
“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.”
All was better with the world again.
I was preaching on Jacob who met God in a dream at Bethel. Bethel became a place for Jacob. A place to return to because he would always meet God there.
Every summer, I finish my holiday on that beach, at that rock. On the shore of a new church year this is where I see God, not in a flower but in those grains of sand, a wondrous sunset and… that rock.
you can watch the entire sermon HERE
you can watch Light From Van Morrison HERE