I was intending to blog yesterday evening but unfortunately an unexpected migraine wiped me out from about 7pm, so I missed the chance to walk round the Island in the evening stillness and to blog 🙁 Thankfully I woke up today feeling much better.
It was great to be in Holy Island all day yesterday and to real feel like I began to rest, the sense of wanting to do everything immediately wasn’t there and I really enjoyed both of the books I began to read, finishing the first today.
James, a friend and colleague who is also on sabbatical at the moment blogged last week about making spaces intentional. I read James’ blog over the weekend so decide to grab a few items from my office at Church to use to make an intentional space, a sacred space in the different places I will be during sabbatical. Yesterday I spent sometime thinking about which items I wanted in my sacred space and choose this cross, the candle holder, my Bible and Prayer Book. Yesterday and today I spent time in prayer and reading the Bible in this space and the items enabled it to be more sacred and my prayers more rich.
As I have returned home today I want to continue a daily time of prayer and reflection in this sacred space and to reflect on what that space means. I’ve begun reading 1 Samuel and Acts which I have felt led to go back to during this early part of the sabbatical. My thinking theme for sabbatical is around rules/ways/rhythms of (Christian) life and I hope this space, these prayers and the scriptures will shape and hold my thinking in this area.
Another joy of yesterday was to share part of the day with Phil, another friend and colleague who is also on sabbatical and part of a group I retreat with regularly. It was good to walk, to talk and to share how first sabbaticals feel a few days in.
Phil is focussing on photography and we spent some time taking pictures together and sharing how they spoke to us of scripture and faith.
I particularly like these photos I took of St Cuthbert’s Island, the cross stands prominently above everything else and even when the tide is in it can still be seen. It reminded me that Jesus stands above everything no matter what tides, seas or waves we face – not that I feel like I’m facing any of those particularly at the moment but like anyone I have at different times in the past. It spoke to me that through all I do on sabbatical whether I’m on a focussed retreat, at home with my precious family, reading a book, cooking tea – I must keep lifting my eyes to God, to see what Jesus has to offer into the situation, to watch for the Spirit moving. If I keep lifting my eyes then I will see more of the sacred, move of the divine and be blessed.
Today in true Northumberland style it rained! So I moved from coffee shop to coffee shop, enjoying the warmth inside and two good books I’m reading. I then drove home and was able to pick Jethro up from nursery which was great. I’m returning to Holy Island at the end of my sabbatical and it will be good to be able to look back and see what God has done between my two visits.
The next few days I’m at home, spending time with Jethro and Tara and doing some house/life jobs, as I do I’ll keep lifting my eyes and seeing what God offers into whatever I’m doing.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains –Psalm 121
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm —
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.