‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to God’s purpose’ Romans 8:28
If you think about it, you’ve likely had moments when you just know angels have brought aspects of God’s plan for you into alignment. These angelic acts appear as favourable coincidences, but when we live and have our being in faith, we recognise them as divine synchronicities that create for us small or major miracles, or rich happenings of joy and flow. Everything lines up and the sense of wellbeing, and being part of something greater than ourselves is truly palpable. Well, our trip from beginning to end was amazingly blessed with these divine synchronicities. They began on the first day of our travels…
Kilmany, Fife, Scotland
On a dreich and grey day of April 6 we began our pilgrimage locally researching 5 generations of Presbyterian ministers in the Perth-Fife area here. Our divine synchronicities began to play out immediately: We just happened to be ‘lost’ and driving in a tiny village of Kilmany on the only
miserably wet day of our trip when we saw a man out in the garden! Of all the weathers to garden. We stopped and lowering the window, called him over to ask him directions to the local church where our ancestor had preached and lo and behold he was a practising Anglican, and not only knew the family name we looked for – Borwick or Borthwick – but had published his thesis on the local church and its pastoral history – and gave us a copy of his book! What a start!
Orkney Isles, Scotland
If you’ve never been to the top end of Scotland, pop it on your must-do list.
Honestly, the vast openness of sea and sky; the isolation and natural beauty is magnificent. We stayed in Kirkwall in a lovely self-catering B&B, which lent itself to our vegan cooking and meant we could walk to St Magnus’ cathedral where we acknowledged our Norse ancestry. We had the Ring of Brodgar – that Neolithic henge
and stone circle of 3000BCE – to ourselves and our visit to the Italian Chapel was blessed too. Arriving to find the church closed, I spied a woman leaving the ticket office and approached her. Explaining that Rob was from New Zealand, and had hoped to see the chapel due to his wife of thirty years, now passed having been Italian. The woman said not a word but opened the office door again, came out with a set of keys, led us to the church and proceeded to give us a private viewing of the chapel. She also happened to be of the family that hosted the Italian Prisoner of War who painted the chapel, Domenico Chiocchetti when he was alive and would return to visit the island and his chapel. So we had not only had the beauty of it to ourselves but we received in-depth story of the the Italian POWs and how the chapel came to be. A beautiful testimony to faith built in such a time troubled times.
One of our special hopes was to view the Book of Kells (c.800CE) in Dublin. Even though the original is locked away somewhere safe, seeing the brilliant duplicate was on our ‘wouldn’t that be fabulous’ list. Unfortunately, with little time in Ireland we made the hard decision to by-pass Dublin. As a small consolation we decided instead to simply drive through the town of Kells where the manuscript Gospel was housed in a Columban monastery for centuries. Upon entering Kells we spied Columba’s church and drive into the grounds, gates open to receive us. The doors to the main chapel were open and we entered. We crossed ourselves accordingly with Rob touching the ground when the priest approached me. ‘I see you are Orthodox’, he said. ‘Yes, we are’ I admitted, not knowing if this was appropriate. And then… ‘Would you like to see the Book of Kells?’ I kid you not! He took us over to an alcove where a direct replica of the book was encased and several of its illuminations available to view. We took our time marvelling and appreciating, and as we were leaving, the only other person in the church, a woman with keys in her hand said ‘You had good timing, didn’t you?’ We looked at her enquiringly. She explained she and the priest had only opened the doors for that 20 minute window to set up for the Easter festivities the next day. The church was actually closed to the public! Divine Synchronicity.
Easter Sunday, Durham
Finally, joy of joys! Christ is Risen! And so did we at 4am for the dawn Easter service at Durham Cathedral. And what an exceptional service it was. The service began with the lighting of a bonfire outside in the large grass compound within the walls of the cathedral grounds. It included a number of candidates for baptism and for confirmation. It was an extraordinary ritual that raised sentiments of the old Druidic, blended with modern day Christianity. Candles were lit from the bonfire and the clerical procession eventually made its way inside this huge ancient cathedral. We all followed, and our candles were lit from the candles of the priests and deacons. The service continued in candle light for some time, to the extraordinary voices of a full choir including brilliant sopranos, and the huge sounds of a pipe organ.
Eventually, after a truly wonderful celebration of Jesus’ resurrection and all the hope and joy he has manifested in the world because of his life, the lights came on and our hundreds of candles were one by one extinguished. We heard the gospel, a very apt sermon from the Bishop, and sang a myriad of responses and hymns very well selected for a contemporary and personally relevant celebration of the several elements of this service: the resurrection, baptisms, confirmations, and holy communion. Tears of gratitude flowed from us both so moving was God’s presence in this Cathedral. At the end of the service people began to pour outside but we lingered. This was fortunate indeed because Rob had really wanted to see the tomb of St Cuthbert and King Aiden of the 500-600s. This was almost top of his ‘must do’ list for our pilgrimage. The only thing was – the tomb was closed for Easter Sunday!! Just one of the small miracles of our time was me approaching one of the deacons. One man past me first and my Heavenly Father whispered into my mind ‘Waaait’, so I did. Another man approached and I heard within ‘Now’. I approached the deacon with a large smile and a ‘Happy Easter’ and a few moments later we were escorted through the high altar to the sacred area atop the whole cathedral where we had a private viewing St
Cuthbert’s tomb. To say that we were both completely over taken by the Spirit of reverence and joy and gratitude is an understatement! At length we left this area through a door that brought us back into the high altar area of the Cathedral. Three deacons were organising the altar items but other than them we were entirely alone in this vast and magnificent Cathedral. We couldn’t believe our eyes and God’s blessing. As if we were invisible, we took innumerable photos and video clips of all the standout features, artwork and sculptures, and then, when we were completely satisfied we let ourselves out the main entrance door, lingering on the grassy pathways where lie the graves of ancient knights and nobility and saints.
Cultivating Divine Synchronicity
Within reach is the personhood of God wanting to be in relationship with us; patiently waiting for us to turn around and embrace that Divine invitation. When we take up that offer we change. We spiritually increase as our will and God’s will increasingly align. And a harvest of blessing flows into our life.
Where do we begin?
- We start by acknowledging the Divinity within us; that the essence of God within us yearns to be in relationship with us; to guide us on our trajectory and life purpose towards a destiny of unity.
- We enter into communication with that Divinity – the Beloved. We pray. We speak within or aloud. We worship. We sing. We share our innermost.
- We trust and have faith in the promise of God we can depend upon. We depend upon that promise until it proves to be true in our life. Paul in Hebrews 11:1 says: ‘Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.’
- Understand that the Divinity within is working for us and that we can listen and watch for Its guiding influence. There are ways to discern this and with practice it comes. For example, we recognise the influence of the Divine by the way It speaks into our current context; how that influence is only ‘good’ for us; the blessing that it brings to us and others…
- Expect miracles. Expect that God within wants to uplift and spiritualise your life, and that the old ways of thinking, being and living are transformed when we begin to lean into the Divine relationship.
- Act in faith. When divine synchronicity shows itself to us we have a choice whether to embrace the opportunity or not. Remembering that every encounter with God uplifts and spiritually increases us; Divine synchronicity often requires us to act in ways that stretch us – speaking out when voice is our challenge; saying yes when it’s more familiar or comfortable to say no; whatever our growth points are, our relationship with the Divine will nurture and in some instances stretch them. In most of encounters of Divine synchronicity the blessing came after either myself or Rob had acted on it and spoken up; action in vulnerability equals courage; action in divine synchronicity equals faith – a little bit of both amplifies our harvest of blessings.
- Gratitude absolutely grows the experience of Divine synchronicities. Research shows that adopting an attitude of gratitude statistically enhances not only a person’s rate of success in challenging situations but overall sense of wellbeing. When we are filled with awe and reverence, worship and gratitude – when we are Glorifying God – the harvest of blessings also grows and grows. This can be expressed as simply as a one-word prayer of ‘Thank you’. Thank you, thank you, thank you – as your heart opens to the majesty that is you in connection with the Beloved.