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A different perspective (27 January)

The thought this week has been written by Revd John Goddard, EBA Trustee and Minister at Saffron Walden Baptist Church

As I write the English Cricket Team (Men) are close to the end of the Second Test in Galle, Sri Lanka. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a reflection based on cricket, and it won’t even feature the birdlife on view at the ground which includes House Crows and Egrets. What has caught my attention (alongside the absorbing cricket…) are the ariel views of what must be one of the most beautifully situated cricket grounds in the world.

When the Portuguese invaded the island in the 16th century they sought to control the coastal areas and constructed a fort on a southern headland, which was in turn rebuilt and reused by Dutch and British colonial powers. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cricket ground is on the landward side of the fort, just underneath the walls, with the waters of the Indian Ocean to east and west of the ground. Cricket has been played here for years, and the commentary team (back in the UK because of Covid travel restrictions) know the ground quite well. But with the absence of crowds for the TV director to focus on, and with the advent of drone technology, for the first time they are seeing amazing ariel views of the ground, the fort, and the surrounding area. A place they felt they knew well is being seen as if for the first time as they gain this new perspective.

How well do we know ourselves? Dare we see ourselves from a new and different perspective?

Take a few moments to read Psalm 139:1-18.

Psalm 139 begins, ‘O LORD, you have searched me and known me.’ This would be a terrifying prospect if we didn’t have complete confidence that the Creator God – Father , Son, and Holy Spirit – loves and values us, and wants good things for us. This God, the Biblical God, has searched us and known us, and that’s all right. God has searched us and known us and loves us and values us. We sometimes lose perspective in the muddied messiness of daily living, but the God who soars above us and delves within us has searched us and known us – and God loves us.

Dare we see ourselves from God’s perspective? Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven?

In Psalm 139 the Psalmist speaks of the futility of trying to escape from God’s presence – from God’s perspective. The Psalmist contemplates running and hiding to avoid the presence of God, but it is only when the Psalmist will accept that this is not possible, that God sees all and knows all, that they can come to the starkly peaceful end of their attempts to hide and flee and utter the words, ‘I come to the end – I am still with you.’

This can be our encounter too. We can stop running, stop hiding, and finally learn that above and beneath all else God loves us. We can see our lives from the only perspective that truly matters.

‘O LORD, you have searched me and known me… I am still with you.’


John Goddard

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