St Mary’s Church Coddenham

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From the Rectory – LISTEN

by | Mar 14, 2024 | Coddenham Church

norfolk beach

By the time you read this, Mary and I will be homeward bound after a few days on the coast.

Coastal paths are seldom tidy; littered as they are with everything from discarded string, through the rotting remains of old boats and jetties to piles of uprooted and decaying vegetable matter.  The land is ever shifting. Tide by tide, the mudbanks and deep channels are constantly moving; demanding the sailor’s attention on every trip.

At this time of year the coastal paths are nearly empty and it is easy to walk many miles alone; except you are never completely alone.  Tidal creeks, mud flats and shingle spits are all home to a wide variety of creatures.  Even when you can’t see them, you know they are there; our coasts team with life.  For a few days, this has been our Lenten wilderness.

We are often encouraged to see Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness as a time of deprivation; extremes of hot and cold, hunger and thirst.  But he wasn’t there to practice pain; the key to his time in the wilderness is seen in his encounter with the Tempter (eg: Matt. 4: 1-11; Mk 1: 12,13; Lk 4:1-13), a test of his faith and understanding.  Before that he had time to pray, to reflect, to connect with his Father.

We are bombarded daily with messages of every kind of news and business; much of it divisive.  Often we don’t even notice the subtle (and not so subtle) attempts to steer our thoughts and actions: to entice us to support the latest scheme to turn stones into bread, gain publicity for our cause, make the desert more comfortable.  Nor do we notice the subtle ways in which we are peeled away from true friends, family, God.

On a windy beach; with no mobile signal, we can, if only for a few hours, disconnect from this busyness and view life through a different lens. Unlike so many of those voices competing for our attention, God rarely shouts.  Instead, after the fury of the storm, when all falls silent, then speaks a still, small voice.  Our part is to find a space in which to listen.


Rev’d Philip Payne                                     The Notice Sheet for 17 March, Lent 5 can be found here.        Morning Worship at St Mary’s at 9.30am.  All are welcome.


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