Not long ago I was privileged to spend some during my Sabbatical in the Caribbean. I was on placement with the Baptist Union of Jamaica, St Mary’s Association, Port Maria Circuit. In my time there I felt loved, appreciated and accepted as a dear sister in the Lord. This was a time of healing and reflection for me on deep issues regarding cultural history and faith. An experience I will treasure for the rest of my life.
My Sabbatical report is full of stories from the four Churches I served. Revival Campaigns in Hampstead; faithful young disciples at Oxford; the warm exauberant fellowship of Galina, and the wonderful prayer meetings at Port Maria where the saints banged on Heaven’s Door . Yet there was so much more to this adventure. It was not all work and no play, and on a several occasions I was fortunate to be a tourist and simply enjoy the beautiful surrounding.
I spent one unforgettable day at Oracabessa Beach, (or James Bond Beach as it’s more commonly known). A private secluded beach where a small amount of money is exchanged to enter, which means you escape the beach traders and benefit from a security guard. (Or else Sister Robbie would never have left me there alone!) I chose my sun bed and stripped off to my Bikini, sun hat and sunglasses, and immediately covered myself in protective cream as the temperature was rising. I picked up my book, then quickly decided that to miss the unique beauty around me was sheer madness! So I just sat observing the beautiful scenery; the smooth white sand meeting the crystal clear blue ocean, and the crystal blue ocean merging with the equally deep blue expense of sky.
The happy sounds of children playing in the water, offered an invitation for me to join them and experience the warm reception of the Caribbean Sea. Just to step into the water was a delight, and soon I was in just above my waist. I very quickly became aware that I was not alone. As I looked down I had an experience of being in an amazing aquarium, for around me were little fish, some blue, some gold, some yellow, some green. I sat down and remained still just watching the sea life that shared my space. I put my hands under the water and the fish came to me as if they were looking for food, yet they didn’t seem disappointed that I had nothing, we just shared that space together. They were so fascinating, colourful and intricate. After a while I began to walk around and I noticed on the rocks nearby were a number of crabs. The closer I got, the more crabs I spotted, actually loads of different varieties and they too didn’t seem concerned by my presence, unlike crabs in the UK who scuttle off at first sight.
On Oracabessa Beach I encountered God in the wonder of his creation. No Bond girl at anytime could have felt the sense of honour and freedom that I did at that moment surrounded by such outstanding beauty.
Thank You Father for the beauty and majesty of this world, and for the way that your creation touches something deep within us, revives us afresh, and renews our soul.
Jesus – during this Lenten season – remind me again to look around and to see your intricate handiwork just where I am today.
Lord hear us – Lord graciously hear us!