We have just had the most wonderful visit from dear friends who live in County Wicklow, Ireland. Colin and Joyce Langran arrived in high spirits to spend almost a week with us. What a great time we had with them! Our first outing was down to the Swannery in Abbotsbury amidst a lot of Irish craic and raucous laughter.
However, as easily as we were able to laugh and joke together we shared our hearts with honesty and openness. This aspect of friendship is vital and spurs us on in our relationship both with each other and the Lord. It is lovely to read in The Message about the Government of Affirmation. We affirm one another just as we live under this Government of Christ’s Affirmation. “And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognised as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of His face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like Him.” [The Message]
May new friendships be continually forged with this in mind and existing ones be continually renewed and deepened.
We have put together some photos of our time together including Abbotsbury and Clavell’s Folly and coastal path walk which must have been about six miles from start to finish. The weather was very good and just right for a day of walking and picnic lunch.
The Swannery was established by Benedictine Monks who built a monastery at Abbotsbury during the 1040’s. The monks farmed the swans to produce food for their lavish Dorset banquets.
St Peter’s monastery was destroyed in 1539 during the dissolution. Some of the ruins are still visible around St Nicholas’ Church in the village. Since that time the Swannery has been under the stewardship of the Ilchester Estates.
From mid May to late June hundreds of fluffy cygnets hatch from eggs in nests on or near the pathways. Many lucky visitors will take pictures of cygnets cracking out of their eggs within feet of the action!
Sadly, we only saw the eggs but no hatching!
Our next outing was to walk up a steep path to Clavell’s Folly and then onward along the Dorset coastal path in Kimmeridge. Clavell Tower also known as the Clavell Folly and the Kimmeridge Tower, rises some 35 feet above what is known as Hen Cliff. The cliff rises about 330 feet above the sea. There are always analogies in life and the climb to the top of the coastal path reminds us of challenges we face in life. He is there to give us the courage we need and best of all He is always with us. G.K.Chesterton was standing on a street corner in London when he was approached by a newspaper reporter. “Sir, I understand that you recently became a Christian. May I ask you one question?”
“Certainly,” replied Chesterton. “If the risen Christ suddenly appeared at this very moment and stood behind you, what would you do?” Chesterton looked the reporter squarely in the eye and said, “He is.”
We were invited around to Peer and Natalie’s home for a BBQ on the Sunday and enjoyed a relaxed time eating and sharing together. It is encouraging when folk want to share Jesus with each other in a ‘relaxed’ way. Colin shared a very encouraging story with us of a man living in J’burg who experienced the grace of God at work in his life in quite a different way that only our Father could orchestrate. He read Isaiah 35 to us from The Message and encouraged us to have prepared hearts whenever we come together. It was a very helpful time. It is certainly a day to encourage and affirm one another. Henri Nouwen said to a friend and I want to encourage you with these same words, “All I want to say to you is, ‘You are the Beloved,’ and all I hope is that you can hear these words as spoken to you with all the tenderness and force that love can hold. My only desire is to make these words reverberate in every corner of your being – ‘You are the Beloved.’ “
Thank you Peer and Natalie for opening your hearts and your home to a motley bunch of people who love Jesus with a passion. We truly experienced church life together on that day.