A View From The Bridge

A view from the bridge

My apologies to devotees of the playwright Arthur Miller. This is not an attempt at a literary review. For that you can be grateful! Instead it’s an attempt to get us not to overlook the blindingly obvious. As you negotiate each day, you come across lots of ways to get yourself thinking God- wise; that is, allowing Him to speak through the everyday events of life, and offering back something of yourself.

Over a river in a forest close to my home, there’s a bridge. When you stop and watch the river flowing beneath, you can allow yourself a minute or two to be reminded of something God has been saying to you. Often, though not exclusively, it’s about water, there’s a fair bit about water in Scripture. In fact it can be anything- some insight into situations at home, at work or among friends and fellow worshippers. The more we picture these, the more we are exposing them to God’s wisdom and scope of action. The busy world we inhabit is back there beyond the forest entrance. Here is the sacred space where God’s proportions apply, not human ones. It’s a fine opportunity for silent prayer, particularly of the listening kind. If it only makes us think bigger than what is actually before our eyes, then it is helping us to meet God and offer something of our mind and will. Therefore it’s the start and the heart of worship.

It’s a good idea to go on from the bridge along the path through the forest, keeping the ideas alive that came to mind on the bridge. On the way I see lots of ordinary things (or not a lot, depending on the season). Whether they lead me to develop my thoughts, or just offer a way to almost unwittingly receive from God without words, I’m getting different nutrients, as it were, to feed my life.

bridge.jpg

If there are worries, difficulties, blind corners ahead, and so on, that litter our lives, then here is our chance to gain peace. The more we give up, the more we get from God. He tweaks the perspective we have, and some great work is done that we or someone else may experience. Only, we have to believe, and keep trying this, because it shows we are willing. Somehow our usual surroundings start to teach us. They are not just obvious, ordinary and unchanging. And yet the most important development isn’t in how the scenery looks to us, but inside us. So, what might you put in place of the bridge? Where might your comfortable space be? Maybe a view from the bus, a view from the desk, a view from the living room, or a view from the shopping centre? You supply your own. Just keep looking to meet God in the blindingly obvious, and take the experience forward with you. Your ears shall hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30. 21).

 

Philip James

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