New Year on Scarborough Beach

2014 started with a perfect day in Cape Town. A gentle breeze teased the leaves playfully and a fresh blue sky announced the new year’s birth.
We were on Scarborough Beach by 8 o’clock and, while there was lively activity, it was well before the crush of holidaymakers.
It was neap tide and I have never seen the sea so far out. The usual steep dip of the sand, just beyond the shoreline, today formed part of the beach. The sea started below that on a gentle slope that allowed bathers to frolic knee deep 150 metres offshore in whipped cream waves tumbling in on a bed of powder blue. Near the shore, the sea lost its blue and swirled transparently in glassy eddies before slapping the shore. Beyond the breakers, it deepened to blended shades of aquamarine and towards the horizon it was burnished steel. The beach was enveloped in a fine mist which bathed everything in a surreal light.

Thus was the glory of God displayed in spectacular fashion, but what brought it to life was the people. A mother and her two small children sat gilt-edged and haloed by the sun shining through the mist; an elderly couple walked stiffly, but comfortably in one another’s presence, along the shoreline; a five-year-old in a red, full body bathing suit ran helter skelter along the reflective sand chasing his small dog; a middle aged couple conversed easily as they strolled along the shore; further on, young lovers touched and occasionally caressed as they stood on rocks, usually submerged, but now exposed and draped in emerald seaweed. Passers-by greeted one another with a cheerful, “Hello.” “Good morning.” and often “Happy New Year.”

Everywhere the mood was one of lightness and celebration, as though God had decided to shower His love on a community entering a time of uncertainty; to assure them He was there ready to cocoon them in His goodness and delight.

A picture of Eden came to mind, and I saw, with new eyes, why, after creating man, God saw that it was VERY good. All the rest, as it was on Scarborough beach, was just a backdrop to the real beauty of man living joyously in relationship with Him and with one another — merely a magnificent setting for the jewel of His image in created form.

Come what may in 2014, God assures us, by His very nature and by what He has created, (which includes, supremely, you and me) that He is good; He desires, for us, joy in the morning, though weeping may endure for a night and He WILL make everything beautiful in its time.

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