Week beginning 26th April 2020
As the weather was wonderfully sunny on Sunday afternoon, I went for a walk in the Valley of Rocks. We are so fortunate to live in this beautiful part of the world. I walked from home, via Lydiate Lane, where I talked to a friend who is confined to home. We chatted about what could be seen and heard at the moment: the cuckoo on Hollerday Hill, the owls in the woods, the flowers bursting forth from the ground. My friend had got out late one evening, when no one else was around – so quite safe - and experienced up close a tawny owl and a small herd of red deer and their babes on the top of South Cleave - their sound is quite a bark - and the night skies have been very clear and full of bright stars.
So I was inspired after this chat with my friend to walk through the woods behind the cemetery and up South Cleave, taking photos along the way. The fringe cups are now flowering and, as their name suggests, the petals are quite fringed. The views near the top looking back towards Lynton are spectacular, with the trees breaking forth into leaf and the town nestled in the palm of the hills.
Looking out towards Wales (which wasn’t visible) there were three ships in the channel, two motoring towards Bristol – the sea was so very calm, and a real change from the stormy season we had this winter. Then, looking towards Castle Rock, the crosses at Lee Abbey were just visible. I sat a while and enjoyed the peace and tranquillity watching a couple of different types of bumble bee gathering pollen from the flowers of whortleberry – they are so hidden and can only be seen by kneeling down.
Then I walked further up the hill, looking into the valley and observing from afar a police car and the coastguard on patrol ensuring no visitors had stopped in the car park.
At the top, there was dodder, a parasitic plant, which I’ve seen on gorse before. Here it seemed to be growing across the ground as the gorse had been chopped down.
Continuing down the other side towards Lee Abbey, I spotted an area of wild garlic in a small wood, so I tracked “off piste” to get to it. The smell was very garlicky and the flowers were magnificent. Then I decided to continue walking “off piste” and walked behind the Lee Abbey sheep fields, behind the entrance lodge and over the brow of the hill and came down into the Valley of Rocks. There are three early purple orchids in the valley. The goats haven’t eaten them and they are beautiful.
I carried on walking towards home up through the valley and the baby goats were playing around in the bottom of the valley taking no notice of me. So I was able to sit on a rock and watch their very playful antics and took a couple of photos (now on Facebook “The Lynton Goats”). It was great to see their youthful exuberance - they gathered in small gangs and sometimes joined forces, played around enacting adult behaviour including head butting, and a group of them ran from the middle of the valley all the way down to Castle Rock, up the slopes and then skedaddled back up the valley towards where I was. They had no fear or people or cars.
By the time I got back home I had been away for three hours. A great walk and opportunity to really see what is going on around.
As I am writing this I can see so many analogies for us as Jesus' followers:
Even though we endure hard times, there is HOPE
Opportunities are all around – God is all around and at work – we just need to observe and engage
Sometimes we can’t see clearly; it doesn’t mean He isn’t there
There is a parasite in this world ( the enemy) which drains, but we have a God who goes before us and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are with us
Sometimes we have to be taken off track to see beauty
Enthusiasm and lack of fear – we are called to this life as followers of Jesus
These thoughts connect so well with what I have been reading this week.
The Psalmist writes:
“The Lord is my light and my salvation - so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?” (27:1)
“Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.” (27:3b)
David writes of his confidence in the Lord who will conceal him, keeping him safe from his enemies. David offers “sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.” (27:6)
David hears the Lord speak, “Come and talk with me,” to which he responds, “Lord, I am coming,” (27:8) and then goes on to pour out his thoughts to the Lord without censure and still holding fast to the knowledge that “The Lord will hold me close.” (27:10).
Through everything that David goes through he is still able to say with certainty:
“Yet I am confident that I will see the Lord's goodness while I am here in the land of the living.” (27:13)
I can confidently say that we are called to:
“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble and keep on praying.” (Romans 12:12)
Here are some resources to have a look at this coming week:
Good news stories from survivors of Coronavirus including a local lady from Westward Ho!
Vision of the Garden Tomb for the months ahead:
This is very worth watching and joining the Facebook page to keep up-to-date.
21 day daily devotion using the Gospel of John by our friend Mark Simpson in South Africa (the Ignite course that Roger and I went on back in 2014 was run by Mark)
A talk about incredible and practical ways of engaging in the prophetic and hearing God's voice by using our senses. God speaks in all seasons — we need to learn how to hear His voice in the season we are in.
And finally this weeks playlist of worship songs:
Have a blessed week and do keep in touch with us and each other.