Finding God in silence and through creation

Angel at Othona By Finntasia on flikr.com
Just before I moved to the Woottons I took a three month sabbatical which I spent living in my caravan making my way along the East Anglian coast, and eventually, with my wife Linda ending up in the Scottish Highlands.
My journey began on the Dengie Peninsular formed by the River Crouch to the south and the River Blackwater to the north. I stayed on a farm not far from Bradwell-on-Sea and could get to the coast by walking a couple of miles through reclaimed marshland. The flat landscape, the big skies and the tranquillity reminded me of parts of Norfolk and it was easy to find peace away from the hustle and bustle of normal life. Within easy reach was The Church of St. Peter on-the-wall built by St. Cedd in 654 AD on the foundations of the Roman fort of Othona. Cedd had travelled by boat from Lindisfarne to spread the good news of Jesus to the East Saxons.
My journey took me to the Suffolk coast and then around the Norfolk coast from Great Yarmouth to Burnham Thorpe. My wife Linda joined me for the second half of my trip and we journeyed up north to Loch Lomond, the Kintyre Peninsular and the shores of Loch Linnhe near Fort William.
I spend the first three days of my sabbatical in silence. I find that “retreating” from normal life in that way is a very good way focus on prayer and my relationship with God. I think our busy, noise-filled lives mean that so often we are unaware of God’s presence and we so easily miss what he is trying to say to us. My first rule of prayer is to create space for God.
I found God in the silence certainly, but also in the beauty of creation. Whether watching the stormy skies over the Blackwater Estuary, the waves lapping onto the shores of Winterton beach, or being overwhelmed by the majesty of the mountains in the west of Scotland I feel inspired to wonder at God’s creative acts. How strange then to hear so many references to the thoughts of scientists like Richard Dawkins or Stephen Hawking rubbishing the idea of God and dismissing people with faith as deluded. To these two gentlemen and others like them I want to say – stop trying to explain away God with science but open your eyes and see the work of the author of creation. Then stop and listen for the still small voice of God.
The Revd. James Nash Rector of the Church in the Woottons

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