Saturday, December 07, 2013

Utmost East

On a Friday morning, in the dark of winter, I watched the sunrise on the most easterly point of the  British Isles.  I had come to Lowestoft Ness to trace the mirror image of a walk I’d taken in the autumn. 




Then I had travelled south and east from Land’s End and finished at the church of St. Levan.  I had reversed the order of  east  and west,  but  lines from the hymn kept popping into my head, “From  utmost east for utmost west, where er man’s foot hath trod.....” And I thought of  St. Levan, who had evangelised that part of Cornwall and our early East Anglian missionary saints - Felix and Fursey, Botolf and Cedd. They all loved the sea and built their hermits’ cells and monasteries on the edge. All would have approved of the children’s chorus “Wide, wide as the ocean...”

Night turned to day as I started out along Gas Works Road towards the semi-redundant fish docks.  It doesn’t sound promising, does it? But not everything was gloom and doom. There were signs of  green shoots among the post industrial waste -  a gigantic wind turbine, a futuristic office block and support vessels where the drifter fleet had once tied up.  After a short while I passed Britain’s most easterly church. The notice board gave every sign that Christ Church was still in business, making disciples and adapting to the future.

Beyond the harbour, the townscape changed.  A promenade led me past a pier, hotels, guest houses, well manicured parks and gardens and substantial Victorian and Edwardian villas. So different from the Cornish Coastal Path as it  had snaked its green way uphill and down dale through heather, gorse and rough pasture! But it was the same sea and the sun glittered off it as it had in Cornwall.

As before, the  walk ended at an ancient church, full of light, life and interest, with an open door, inviting visitors “to kneel where prayer has been valid”.  More than that as I arrived at  All Saints and St. Margaret’s, Pakefield  people were gathering to say morning prayer. They made me very welcome!



On my journeys I caught a glimpse of  “the earth ........filled with the glory of God, as the waters cover the sea”, heard echoes of  “the voice of many messengers” proclaiming the gospel and renewed my response to Jesus words (once addressed to the fishermen of old) “Come and follow me” !

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