August 2018

I’ve been here for two months and almost all the boxes are now unpacked at the Rectory. It’s a strange experience seeing familiar things in an unfamiliar context – from pieces of old furniture to our feral cat Albus – but this summer’s fantastic weather has certainly helped with the settling-in process. When the Great Orme is drenched in sunlight, or there’s a stunning sunset on the distant Irish Sea, it’s quite remarkably beautiful, sublime even. It produces in me feelings of connection with the natural world of which we are ourselves a part.

And that’s partly why I’ve been impressed with something else in my new environment – the local primary school, Ysgol San Sior, and in particular its efforts to help children look at and connect with nature and wildlife in its schoollife and curriculum. Pupils are encouraged to get up close and personal with creatures as varied as chickens and tortoises to more exotic insects and reptiles like bull frogs and chameleons. The ethos of giving children first hand experiences –the chance to see things in a different way – has won the school international accolades and a visit last week by Prince Charles.

A couple of years ago I had the privilege of spending a few days next to the Sea of Galilee in the Holy Land. It was early Spring and the sunshine, the flowers, bird life and landscape took my breath away. Suddenly the biblical landscape so familiar in my mind’s eye became an actual, real place of tranquility and extraordinary calm. Suddenly Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount took on another dimension, as the place and the advice of Jesus came together:

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these.

“And consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. How much more valuable you are than birds.”

So much of faith is about seeing the ordinary things of life in a different light. Simply put, faith can be like seeing the world with fresh eyes, like glasses that have been wiped clean and through which everything is suddenly clear and vibrant and alive. And we in turn are amazed and dazzled by the beauty that is all around us and of the gift of life itself.

Yours in Christ


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