After some discussion with Karen, our press and communications officer at the Cathedral, I have decided to finish my blog this week.
I do need to gradually phase out aspects of my life as dean and allow for the beginnings of a transition as we all look to the future. So this Friday will finish it. Maybe I will start again once I get to Swanage. We shall see.
Actually, I can hardly believe that we have only one week of July left. This month seems to have flown by, though I expect those that have been on holiday feel it even more so. But it was a lovely day yesterday, wasn’t it? We spent a morning off down at Murlough, where scores of people who are clearly still off work were gathering with windbreaks and deckchairs to make the most of the sun. The backdrop of the Mournes reminded me that I had hoped to walk a day in the mountains once more before we move. Maybe the time will appear from somewhere.
The St Patrick’s mosaic above the entrance to the Chapel of the Holy Spirit in St Anne’s, and one of our treasures, shows in one of the panel, the saint, arriving in a boat, cross in hand, with the mountains in the background. They are spectacular on any day (when they are not obscured with cloud and rain!) as they rise straight from sea level, and give the impression of greater height than they might if they were further inland.
Today is St James’ Day, and one of the psalms appointed is Psalm 29 which is the one that speaks of the voice of God thundering on the mighty waters, breaking cedar trees, shaking the wilderness and splitting flames of fire, making oak trees writhe as he sits enthroned on high.
It is a steady picture of God as all-powerful, but not only that, for as the writer seeks to praise the glory and majesty of God, there is recognition given to the sensitivity of the Creator to his people too, as the psalm ends with those he made in love being given strength and the “blessing of peace”.
From a child though, the line in verse six, “He makes Lebanon skip like a calf and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox” always fascinated me. How can a forest skip, or a hill, go for that?
The psalmist surely is looking at the world with the eyes of one who sees life not as ancient and stable; everything that God has created is, in fact, in constant motion and vitality. His picture of Hermon – which is a lot higher than Slieve Donard and has snow on even in the summer – as being reactive to the sound of God’s voice is as a joyful feeling; like a babe in the womb; like the anticipation of something new.