FACE TO FACE
ICKLESHAM to RYE
Up early and on the way from Icklesham. A stunningly misty morning as I walked across to Winchelsea, to Camber Castle and on to Rye.
Extract from Reflection Journal – Sunday 27th August 2017
As I walked through the magnificently mysterious mist on this morning my thoughts turned to a passage in 1 Corinthians.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:11-12 NIV
The New Living Translation puts it like this:
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
1 Corinthians 13:11-12 NLT
I suppose that when I set off on this journey I was hoping that as I travelled God might clear up some of those things that have been puzzling reflections to me. I understand that when Paul writes in 1 Corinthians he is pointing us to the truth that real, complete clarity is only possible at the point when we reach the end of our journey, but I do believe that God chooses when and how to reveal some more of what he needs us to know as we faithfully and deliberately move forward as disciples of Jesus. As I walked through the mist different shapes appeared before me. At first indistinct; just vague shadows of what might be there, but as I drew nearer to them the mist didn’t disappear but those shapes became clearer and more distinct; the windmill, the farm, the bridge, the castle.
I came into this walk with a number of unanswered questions from my life. Some things that confused, others that bothered, and still others that hurt, and there have been some days on this pilgrimage, more often than not it was those quiet days walking through fields and woodlands – and often through torrential rain – when it felt right to bring them before God. There have been days when it felt as if God quietly spoke to me, “Shall we talk about it?”. Days when it felt like I couldn’t hold it in any longer and shouted out, “Please God, can we talk about it?”.
Not everything is clear to me now, but there are some things that are a little clearer and some that are lot clearer. There are some things that that it felt like God was saying, “In time”. There are some things that I have carried with me for too long that I have been able to let go of, and others that weigh less heavily on my now, and at times during this incredible 7 weeks I have found myself wondering to myself, ‘Why didn’t you let go of that sooner?’ ‘Why didn’t you talk with Him about this before?’
Perhaps the biggest thing that I have learned on this pilgrimage journey is that we simply don’t make enough time in our lives to spend with God. Proper time – not just a few moments snatched between the busyness of our lives, but deliberate time where our attention is devoted to God alone. I feel very privileged to have had the time to make this pilgrimage journey, and to have had time and space, and peace & quiet to be just with God, but it did take an effort on my part to make it happen. I had to go about it deliberately – both in the planning phase and during the walk. It may likely be that you won’t have the opportunity undertake such an adventure, but I do believe that we all have it within us to make more time for God – to plan a regular escape from the world so that we can be with our God Perhaps it could be a planned walk once a week. Perhaps a retreat for a day or half a day once a month.
Seeing God ‘Face to Face’ is a joy and hope for a time yet to come, but before then we can can draw closer to Him and we can see more clearly what He has planned not just for our tomorrows but also for today. Discipleship is deliberate.