Sennen Cove – Lamorna (12.1 miles)
Distance from Minehead – 267.5 miles / Distance to Poole– 364.6 miles
Today I reached the most south-westerly point of mainland Britain–Land’s End. It is at this point that the Atlantic Ocean, the Celtic Sea and the English Channel all converge and mix together. This means that even on a calm, sunny day there is a lot of activity going on in the waters around this famous headland.
As I stood waiting for my picture to be taken by the iconic signpost (yes I bought into the commercialism, because if I can’t do it now when can I??!) I watched the water crashing and foaming with a transfixed look upon my face. The seas seemed to go on forever and there was no land in sight and I couldn’t seem to stop gazing upon this ever moving, ever changing mass of water. And it stuck me how the ocean, the sea, the water that covers this earth, is a bit like God.
On a family-filled beach the sea is inviting and brings joy, happiness and it is a place of fun and games. The water is calm and warm (although not always on the shores of this country!) and even if you just paddle, there is this magnetic pull towards interaction with the sea. God is always inviting, no matter what our pasts or histories. He can bring a sense of joy and happiness as well as a sense of calm and peace.
All along the coast, particularly the north coast of Devon and Cornwall, the seas are filled with surfers and body boarders. For them the water is the place of excitement and adventure. Anyone who has ever had an encounter with God will know that he is a God of excitement and adventure – just read some of the stories in the Bible or some biographies of folk who have done things they never dreamed possible, thanks to this exciting God of adventure.
But the sea is not just a play thing, something there to entertain us when we fancy it. It can be a dangerous place with rip currents and tidal waves and all sorts of unseen forces in action. This is particularly so at places like Land’s End with the different bodies of water meet and clash. The sea demands respect and is something perhaps to be a little weary and fearful of. God too is more powerful and mighty than I sometimes give him credit for. I am quick to think of him as ‘friend’ or ‘companion’ and I sometimes forget the aspects of majesty, power, awe and fear which he rightfully commands.
Finally throughout history man has tried, in vain, to control the seas. We build walls, we construct defences and we do our best to contain and manage the sea. Yet the walls and defences are, over time, often breached and eventually fail. Not because of our shortcomings but because of the enormous strength of the water. Because the seas cannot be tamed and the oceans are not ours to play with and control. Even King Canute found he had no power over the sea and ended up with wet feet! In the same way, throughout history, we have tried to control God and put him in a box. Or boxes. We want him to fit our mould, our needs, our lives and not the other way round. But when we do this we will, eventually, realise that our boxes, our moulds can in no way control the creator of all things, the king of the universe and the Lord of Lords.
So as I watch transfixed by the beautiful and mysterious waters which encompass the south-westerly region of mainland Britain, I give thanks to the beautiful and mysterious God who I love, respect and am truly captivated by.