Golden Scotland… Until yesterday we had been having some wonderful weather in Scotland… (yesterday, when we were hosting an afternoon tea for the circuit – planned for the garden, it suddenly turned cold again!) But we have had three weeks of long golden days of sunshine and real warmth! Even up in the Highlands where we were very blessed to have two weeks’ holiday (hence the long silence in the blog) the sun shone almost every day and the hours of darkness were short and balmy. We were able to do some great exploration in the beauty of Perthshire – and loved walking along this golden corridor of broom and gorse.
We returned early in the past week and were straight into meetings in London (for me) and Edinburgh (for Andrew) followed by almost non-stop activity interspersed with assaults on the backlog of emails. Already the holiday seems an age away. Why are our diaries so full? Why do we do so much? Do you ever wonder? I have been asking myself that question all week and hope I might find some ways to resolve this addiction to busy-ness which seems to plague church life sometimes. Yes, service is a very important part of our calling – but so is reflection, stillness and prayer. Balance – as ever – is the issue.
Whenever I bring groups of pilgrims back from pilgrimage I spend some time on “re-entry” – turning from the inner landscape to face the horizons of our commitments and the wider world. What are the things they are looking forward to about being back in normal life? What are the tasks which bring anxiety or dread? Life is generally a mixture – like the gorse and the broom growing together along the pathways of the Highlands, prickles and discomfort mixed in with the sweet scent and golden glory. We ask today for courage and grace to face both.