There is an almost overwhelming amount of imagery in this poem, to describe an encounter with God. And I guess maybe that’s partly the point. The overwhelming, all encompassing imagery recreates in words something of the overwhelming, all-encompassing experience of God’s presence.
I especially loved R.S. Thomas’ sea imagery. The sea is, and always has been, a very special place for me, and somewhere I encounter God. Insofar as I can pinpoint the begins of my experience of God to any specific moment, it is to a dull Easter morning, standing on the beach just before dawn, surrounded by thick freezing fog and a tiny, elderly congregation as we sang “the light of Christ”. That was the moment I knew there was something more to this – something about this light that was more overwhelming and pervasive than the fog which seemed to be making its chilly way into every fibre of my being.
The sea imagery, especially where it is used in conjunction with the imagery of communion, also remind me of Evelyn Underhill’s extraordinary comparison between the two. The eucharist, Underhill says, is like the crest of a wave.
I think one of the things I love about sea metaphors is the sense of immersion. God is that which surrounds us and in which we live and move and have our being. God is the vastness which stretches to the horizon, and also touches every part of us.
This year for #AdventBookClub we are reading “Frequencies of God: walking through Advent with R.S. Thomas” by Carys Walsh. Join the conversation on Twitter using #AdventBookClub or on Facebook by searching for the group ‘Advent Book Club’.