Friday, July 25, 2008

Coming Soon....

As we are deparing for a family week in lovely Nothumberland, secifically Alnwick - see photo - The World of Doorman-Priest is happy to announce the first tranche of guest Bloggers holding the fort. Please give a big bloggers' welcome to Erika from England, WayneDawg from the U.S.A. and Alcibiades from Australia......

In the meantime, my last post for a little while, taken again from BBC Radio 4's excellent "Thought For The Day" from 19th July. Listen again Here

The Rev Rob Marshall

The holiday exodus really gets underway this weekend. Unlike the French - who put their country on autopilot from the 1st August and go on holiday together - we Brits spread our holidays out over a longer period. Nevertheless, this will be one of the busiest "getting away from it all" weekends of the year.

Holidays usually result in mixed blessings. They are often needed but not always easy. Have we really become so out of touch with loved ones, the world at large, with ourselves? We sometimes feel the pain of slowing down, changing the old routine, doing something different. When on the beach or in the country, life changes focus. We see things in a different perspective.

I personally find that natural boundaries between work and leisure are more blurred than I can ever remember. For many of my friends working in a wide range of jobs and professions, the perception is that each day merges with the next: without a beginning or an end: life too easily becomes a continuous cycle of doing and deadlines, with no ability just "to be".

This week I'm leading a holiday pilgrimage based in Durham celebrating the saints of the north east of England and of Scotland. I was on Iona on Saturday and Holy Island on Thursday. It is indeed clear as I visit many different places that the Celtic and Anglo Saxon saints are once again helping large numbers of people rediscover a better work/life balance. There is a huge interest in Celtic spirituality, ancient sites are being rediscovered, research about this era is hugely popular. And all perhaps because of a natural and quite simple desire in each of us to have enough time to be what God intended us to be: individuals who are at peace with the world and ourselves.

The Northumbrian saints, Aidan and Cuthbert, for instance, were, according to Bede, the historian, full of energy and did a great deal of work. But only as part of a rhythm and connectedness which also placed great emphasis on the ability to withdraw - to spend some time "thinking about it all", putting everything into a wider perspective of wisdom. They urge us to keep the spiritual flag flying - our spiritual self alive - however swamped we may sometimes feel.

As the holiday season really does get underway this weekend, most of us will contemplate the change of rhythm and routine with a sense of thanksgiving and open mindedness.

Despite the fact that leaving a pressurised job of any kind, as the emails build up, is not at all easy, a period of getting once again in touch with ourselves, and with others, inevitably reaps rewards. Rediscovering the world around us and the value of relationships is a hugely spiritual experience.

Comment: It speaks to me and, of course, refers to my destination. I am very much looking forward to family-time: no computer so no blog and no e-mail, mobile switched off, no thoughts of school or church and a trip to Holy Island and the wonderful Alnwick Castle gardens factored in. I might even attend Sunday worship in The Mad One's church in Newcastle. The sun may even shine.