Love made me welcome

Whenever we prepare to welcome a guest, or are guests ourselves, it's often the little, personalised touches which count. Whether we're greeted by flowers in our room or our favourite chocolate, it's these little things which let us know, as much as huge, joyous hugs, that we have been expected and prepared for; that our arrival has been eagerly anticipated and we're most definitely welcome here.

That, at any rate, was the effect on me when I arrived for my retreat at Llannerchwen, moved into my hermitage and saw this little vase of freshly-picked flowers on the windowsill...And Welcome, Silvana, said God, so glad you've come...

I walked through familiar woods around Llannerchwen, through trees and untramelled undergrowth which has largely been left to its own devices. Some paths are well-trodden, others less so. And yet here too there are signs that visitors are welcome and expected: well-placed stepping stones, and plank bridges fording some brooks and narrow streams, complete with rudimentary handrails; and then those same handrails beside a few steps cut into an otherwise steep slope. Yes, I had been awaited, expected, looked forward to; and as I gazed as if for the first time at those steps, marvelling at this, God murmured  From before I formed you in the womb...

And then that evening, reading Martin Laird, this message from Jeremiah was reinforced: The baptism of which Paul speaks... heralds a fundamental truth about our lives: the God we seek has from all eternity sought and found us (Jer 1.5)... Which in turn led me to remember the first line of a largely-forgotten prayer-poem from several years ago - You are making me yours since forever... 

Sometimes, when describing a good retreat, we jocularly say that 'God showed up'. In reality, though, it is we who show up: God has been there all along, seeking and finding, preparing for and looking forward to our arrival; making us welcome, as he makes us his since forever.


Comments