Thoughts Inspired by the River Avon
Stratford-upon-Avon: a beautiful town with its half-timbered buildings, its attractive displays of flowers and its beautiful river-side setting. How much more fascinating it is to be in the same place that Shakespeare knew from his boyhood, to worship at the church where he worshipped and to walk beside the river Avon, as he must have done.
Probably Shakespeare did not see the river busy, as I did, on a warm Saturday, with pleasure cruisers and rowing boats - all named after his female characters – and the local ferry plying the waters. Perhaps his view was more like a Sunday morning, the river flowing quietly ‘the river glideth at his own sweet will’ (but that was a different river and a different poet!)
The River Avon could well be a metaphor for life: often busy, people heading determinedly in one or another direction, trying to avoid clashes, hurrying from place to place; at other times quiet, with time to take things slowly, look about, appreciate the beauty surrounding us or the problems facing the society of today. Then there are the turbulent times of storm, of ‘inconstant billows’, feeling tossed around and helpless in the troubles which surround us.
Yet God is there always, in the calm and in the storms, as we remember in this prayer:
There is no place where God is not,
Wherever I go, there God is.
Now and always he upholds me with his power
And keeps me safe in his love. Amen.