Wondering Wednesdays – beach communion

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Today I go on my pre-ordination retreat to Mirfield, when I return to Birmingham on Saturday I will be priested and then on Sunday preside at communion for the first time. As I write this my mind drifts back nearly a week when Paul was celebrating communion on the beach at Holy Island. The chalice in the picture comes from Assisi – perhaps the wood is from an olive tree that first began to grow when St Francis walked the streets of that beautiful Italian town. It is very apt to use a chalice that reminds us of St Francis as we sit on stones on the beach. Our singing is accompanied by the singing of the seals and the cry of the birds. As we read Psalm 121 we looked to the Northumbrian hills in the distance. We heard part of the story of St Cuthbert and then amazingly we saw a sea otter swimming in the water – legend has it these creatures kept Cuthbert warm as he spent the night praying. As we drew to a close we sang Be thou my vision, a song I had sung to myself as I walked the Pilgrims’ Way.

As I go off on retreat I take this memory with me, I wonder what it will feel like to celebrate communion on the beach but most of all I am looking forward to presiding for the first time as a priest on Sunday with my church family, friends and godchildren. We finished our communion with this blessing and I take it with me:
Holy God of Cuthbert and the saints go before us now.
God of the hills, God of the outposts, God of the margins, go before us now.
God of the streets, God of the people, go before us now…

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2 thoughts on “Wondering Wednesdays – beach communion

  1. My thoughts and prayers are with you Sally, as you go on your pre-ordination retreat and then preside over communion for the first time. I pray that God will feed you, both spiritually and in your whole being as you respond to His calling.

    The words of that blessing are lovely; so powerful and true to God.

    I take inspiration from St Francis, and just looking at the picture illustrating communion on the beach speaks to me alot. The simplicity; the opportunity to celebrate in the beauty of God’s creation; your openess to respond to His calling. It makes me realise how important retreats are, and challenges me of things that are missing in my life, and times I am not listening to God as much as I should. Maybe I allow things like my illnesses/disabilities to get in the way rather than to open my heart more to God and let Him help me overcome those obsticles.

    God will be going before you; guiding you; speaking to you and blessing you as you take these steps on the journey He has called you on. I pray that it may be a time of reflection, of joy and happiness as you celebrate all the gifts that God has given us.

    Lucy xx

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