Pam and I have just returned from 8 days in Norway with Oak Hall, and wow, what a place. We stayed on the edge of one of the Fjordes at Brandoy Mission and Congress, Bjoa. Big shout to Andreas who heads things up there, and also to Vicky the Oak Hall leader and Matt the tour speaker who served us so well, and for the great fellowship we enjoyed with those on the tour.
You see the pictures, the ads etc., and it is just as it looks. The view was spectacular, with the fjord spanning out in front of us in all directions, and across it dotted an array of islands, large and small, with the land rearing up from the waters in towering masses, sometimes sharply, others more gently.
Vast swathes of the hill/mountain side were covered in trees, with occasional open spaces with farms and small communities dotted around.
We saw the tall ships taking part in the round the world tall ships race coming into port in Stavanger, cascading waterfalls in the national park, a glacier astride the mountain top and waters to swim in down below, and so, so much more.
One of the things that struck us was the peace and tranquility – there was the occasional vehical up on the road and boat going across the lake, but nothing like the noise we get back home – I’m sitting outside at just after 9pm, and I can hear the traffic on the motorway a couple of miles away. But to get back to our time away, yes, peace, tranquility, calm…
And it struck me that we just don’t know how noisy our world is until we attempt to get away from it, also we don’t know how busy we are, and how much it demands of us until we try to stop. Agendas, people to see, problems to be solved, tasks to fulfill, texts to respond to, emails to write, calls to be answered – things that used to wait, now seem to demand our immediate response….
Our world is full of noise and full of demands, but they can’t sustain us, they run us thin, run us ragged, we need something more. We need to know what it is to be in green pastures and by still waters, places where we can be renewed and invigorated.
Jesus knew the value of withdrawing from the world, from the crowds and the pressures and expectations of people, of ministry, to be alone with the Father, enjoying that relationship which was his from all eternity and to eternity, and now also in time and space, bearing created flesh, with limitations that were not his as Very God.
We can’t avoid or withdraw from life, but we can take time out, take time to slow down, to stop, to let go, to be with Father, to be refreshed, renewed, to hear his voice…
What about you?