lasting first impressions

If you look at a stained glass window from outside it looks drab and boring. You only really experience it if you go inside and take a look.

If you look at a stained glass window from outside it looks drab and boring. You only really experience it if you go inside and take a look.

So, on the last wet (very wet) Bank Holiday I decided to revisit some of my old magic tricks. It’s always worth rehearsing the tricks and the performance of them. As I started I recalled a trick that I had bought a while ago when I was given some vouchers for one of the online suppliers and had bought a number of tricks.

This trick was quite a disappointment when it arrived because I had not realised that I was buying the instructions to build and perform the trick rather than the constructed illusion. (If I had read the blurb on the website properly I would have realised that is what I was buying.) So after I had glanced at the instruction booklet and decided it looked too much like hard work I put it on a shelf and forgot about it…

…until Monday this week. I decided to get it out and have a look at it, and then decided that I would have a go at building it.

I had to buy a few items to construct it properly, but they were all available at a local stationery store, and I had a lot of the other items already. So I sat down and started to construct.

The instructions were fairly easy to follow – broken down into manageable chunks and with photos to illustrate each section. I was surprised at how easy it was, especially as my first reaction had been to shelve it because it looked too much like hard work and the residue of that initial opinion remained in my mind. But slowly, carefully, craftily I constructed the trick. I had to adapt some parts of it and made what I feel are some improvements to the design. But at the end I had a trick with which I was happy. And when I showed it to some of my friends at the Mid Essex Magical Society they were complimentary about it too. I am now looking forward to performing it.

How often do we do that? Not make magic tricks, but make a snap decision and allow that to affect our future opinions. I remember a friend at Secondary School asking me if I wanted to go to the cinema with his family. They were going to see a musical about Greece. I decided that I wouldn’t like that and politely declined. I later found out that they were going to see the musical Grease, which I have subsequently enjoyed immensely.

First impressions are important because they are lasting. We all need to bear that in mind, especially churches! How many people have decided not to go to a church because they had a bad experience in a church as a child, or they don’t like Songs of Praise, or they didn’t like their RE teacher at school, or they don’t like the way the building looks? How many people have decided not to explore the Christian faith thoroughly because they know someone who is a Christian and they are not a nice person, or they are inconsistent?

But we also need to bear in mind that first impressions can be wrong. And let’s be open-minded enough to get past our prejudice (in the sense of pre-judging) and explore things properly for ourselves. We may well be pleasantly surprised!

Be blessed, be a blessing.

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