What goes around

I’m on a flight to Belfast for a weekend gathering of friends from across the whole land of Ireland and Northern Ireland. A gathering of friends who I have journeyed with for the last 10 years. Its been a unique kind of walking in the sense that every time we have gathered it has only been to study the bible, in fact I don’t think I have ever been to this land when the Word hasn’t been a huge part of the visit and it’s experience.

I have travelled across the water to be in rooms with people, drawing on the Word, hearing the stories, capturing the melodies and also bringing a lot of my own story into this place, whether I was conscious of it or not. Hearing real life stories in parable tone brought the biblical text to life. Stories of loss, of life, of barrenness, of new beginnings and of grace. Hearing in the stories of the bible in a land not my own maybe gave me a way that, would at times, have me writing songs and singing them very presently. They would resonate to my own story and the hidden dynamics of the Spirit at work in the people.

As I fly today I want to remember the rooms and the moments that defined so many of my times crossing over the water to this small island. Its a rich land, full of story and essence which pervades the tone of the people. There are voices and melodies that speak from rich soil, a soil that has experienced its own famine, a soil that many had to leave, a soil that many have returned to so seek out their heritage.

The celtic history has a substance that acts like a memory trail. The people give hope to the phrase, “what goes around comes around”, a phrase that in my own understanding has me leaning towards a negative rather than a positive, but just as the many celtic symbols have no beginning and no end I think this phrase sums up the journey of life just beautifully. It is more like a grace trail where the grooves of wagon wheels have furrowed the land, where one can see where the ones before have made their way. Where memory is dense and accessible and the added element of studying the Holy scriptures of the Bible create a harmonic resonance to a deep memory within the human soul. The memory that we are seen by a creator God.

What goes around will come around, but it doesn’t have to be the same mountain. It can be a pattern of beauty carved into rich soil. It can be the patterns of flowers springing up from the ground, it can be water lines upon moss ladened rocks, it can be lines of little seashells washed up on the shores.

As I return to this land I realise just what we have access to when things go around and come back around. We have a choice in how to inhabit the space of memory and we have the opportunity to recognise the gift of lands and places and peoples and faces. What goes around, comes around and I think thats called grace.