My friends, sometimes the best thing we can do is go to the beach,
or wander into the wetlands, to get close to the divine again.
The challenges we people of the east are dealing with at times seem
as high as the Southern Alps, and they can get us down, really down.
So taking time out of the mire and the mess to restore our waning spirits
is on some days simply essential.
On the beach I can gain a better perspective on things.
The vastness of the ocean reminds me of the immensity of God’s love.
It extends way beyond the horizon that I can see.
There is nothing that I am facing or in the grip of
that God’s love cannot absorb and transform.
When I really listen to the roar of the ocean,
instead of the noise of my thoughts,
I can hear God saying this over and over again.
The surf seems to shout eternally, “L-o-v-e,” in one long rolling sound…
When I feel the fresh, clean wind blowing on my face
there is a sense of being cleansed.
All the heavy things that pollute and clutter my mind
are somehow wonderfully dispersed.
So what I’m really trying to say is that a walk on the beach
can be a holy and healing experience.
As Adam and Eve discovered the divine walking in the Garden,
and Galilee fishermen experienced the same presence
in Jesus walking on the lakeshore,
we too can experience the divine walking with us on New Brighton beach.
It is the go to place when we are looking for new inspiration
and release from things that bind and blind us.
The quiet wetlands are another place to go to get closer to God.
Amongst that great seeping silence there is space to be and meditate.
On a still day all that breaks the silence is the song of birds.
There is something calming and comforting being close
to these beautiful and graceful creatures.
Like the dove that hovered over Jesus
they speak powerfully of the presence of God’s Spirit.
O God, draw us again to the places of beauty and life that surround us.
In these sacred places restore our strength and health.
From The In-Between Land: Psalms, Poems and Haiku by Mark Gibson (2015)