Last week we were fortunate enough to have a family holiday in Cornwall, our first and much-needed holiday in six years. I was in my element and delighted with wonder, as completely by chance (when exploring) I discovered we were staying on an ancient route called ‘The Saints way’. To think of the pilgrim people of old passing along the 27 mile stretch of countryside right past our farm-house filled me with awe, especially as I were to celebrate All Saint Eve here. Numinous.
On Halloween we ate dinner in a 12th century olde worlde inn, and then the four smallest children begged me alone, to walk them home in the dark. A spooky halloween walk. It was dark. Very dark. No light pollution here. Protected under the prayers of the saints we made our way home (3 Cornish lanes) with nothing more than a childs torch. When the torch was turned out you could see nothing other than blackness. We scared each other with spooky stories, and the noise of the wild creatures (and the noise of the silence) scared us silly. We giggled with good fear. Me and my little saints who started off slowly, by midway were marching almost as fast as our hearts were beating, and by the time we reached the little lane to the farm we were running towards the lit cottage nothing short of a sprint. Exhilorating.
It was good to spend time with my loved ones without the paraphernalia of life clogging our arteries. Never has one family witnessed so many rainbows in one week. Never have I witnessed so many rainbows is one week. God sending me messages of our covenant several times each day. So much hope. It heaved down for 6 of the seven days, and in between the heaves of rain the sun attempted almost in vain to forge its enticing light upon me. It’s funny that the words heave and Heaven are but one letter different. If Heaven heaved down upon me ‘all would be well, all would be well, and all manner of things would be well’. We have now travelled from the dryest most parched part of the land to the wettest, a transition which, I hadn’t realised I hadn’t entirely planned for (else adequately prepared for). Thankfully God stepped in, and although the elements caught us out once, the tides ultimately controlled by the rhythm of the moon, meant we were safe. Thank God.
And then when we returned home, having been lashed so severely all week I now feel cold to the bone. The older I get, the more I feel the loneliness and the cold. I need reaching with eternal enduring warmth. In fact I am absolutely craving the sunshine. I desperately need to feel held and encompassed in the tender arms of the suns rays. In fact I desperately need to feel held and encompassed in the tender arms of the Sons rays. I need His warmth to deeply penetrate me, I need my internal furnace regulating with His perfect warmth. I need radiating because the bleak tearful rain has followed me back home, the rain which is intent on drowning me in layers. The rain is washing away the vibrant dry artistic vivacious autumn. The winter ahead looks bleak and there is no sign of any reprieve. I pray to be warmed from within. I pray to be rescued from such stormy tumult. I Pray.
I think of Christ being lashed with whips, my lashes invisible.
I don’t only pray for myself. I pray for the priests in Bodmin (home of the monks). In the bleak mid winter (when the grimness of all-weather can’t possibly get any grimmer) when you and I are wrapped up warm, tucked in our snugs and the safety of our beds, he is awoken by the saddest death-call, to go and give final comfort to a dying person. He goes with his stole and his oils into the midst of the bleak night, and in the dark coldness he tries desperately to find the home of the dying. This week I noticed many of the Cornish lanes have no road signs, lane upon lane nameless to the naked eye. There is no light pollution in the depth of the Cornish lanes or upon the bleak moor, only black. I ask him how he manages, he says he finds his way by G.P.S, but often the person making the sad last-minute midnight phone call has no idea of the postcode. I pray for those dear men, I pray that by God speed they reach their flock by night and lead them holy to their destination, and I pray for their safe return.
I think of the ‘Bodmin priests’ homily it wasn’t about wildflowers, it was about seeds being nurtured by the earth, by the elements, growing into beautiful sunflowers which are constantly turning towards the light. He said we are all to be like sunflowers, else like the little satellite dishes on the sides of houses, capturing the signal and radiating it out. I think of the Saints. I think of us radiating Love. I think of Gods Love. I know that God is gentle, I know that God works organically, He works in wonders. Elemental eternal wonders. Man could learn much if he observed Gods tender, gentle, natural way of doing things.
A deeper sadness fills me today as I reflect upon the lives of the beautiful calves which the children and I fell so madly in Love with. For us there were no distinction between the two, the calves were all beautiful. All made by Him. There was no distinction in our Love between the two, it was all Love. Amazing gentle creatures. But all ready the week old babies were segregated from their mothers Love. The male calves segregated from the female. The heffers await a life of over-grazing, over-birthing, and over-milking until they are redundant. The male calves await their lonely slaughter, already decided by man redundant. Sacrificed for nothing. What is wrong with this world. What is so wrong that we as humans see fit to over rule God. To segregate Love from Love. To spoil it. To take something so natural and beautiful and to kill it in murder before its natural death. What is wrong with you all that you are so blind.
I turn towards my marvelous satellite dish, and seek a little comfort from scripture on rainbows.
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:
But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.
Saying: “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as it is today. But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant and to give us a secure hold within his holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery. For we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection in Judea and Jerusalem. “And now, O our God, what shall we say after this?
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
All Saints on earth and in Heaven . . . Pray for us All.