09 March: Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford

… then I saw all the work of God, that no one can find out what is happening under the sun. However much they may toil in seeking, they will not find it out; even though those who are wise claim to know, they cannot find it out.

Ecclesisates 8: 17

A reflection from Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford, Dean of Chester


My education was heavily oriented towards science and I began work designing technology for the automotive industry after completing an electronics degree. I had learned that by human endeavour we were able to grow our understanding of God’s creation both in microscopic detail and on a universal scale. I also quickly learned that no matter how much my understanding grew, there was still more to know. And not just me. The same is true for every scientist. The more you research, the more you realize you do not know.

I also came to see that there were significant domains of knowing that science could not begin to understand. One such case is love. Evolutionary scientists can explain the developmental advantage of love to the human species. Neurobiologists can explain the electrical impulses and chemical compounds associated with feelings of love. But to truly understand love is something else.

Our spirituality and knowledge of God is like this too. We cannot toil to work out what is in the heart of God, instead, we give ourselves into our creator’s hands and learn what it is to be a child of the eternal kingdom.

Give a little time to consider the limits of your own knowledge and the vastness of your unknowing, then wonder at the greatness of God, the creator of all.

A prayer

Father God,

you formed us from the dust of the earth and placed us in a garden.
Remind us of our place as your creatures at home in your creation and enable us to find a home in you. 


Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford,
Dean of Chester



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