choice words

I have tried as hard as I can, but I cannot manage to perfect the trick of being in two places at once. I know how magicians perform illusions where you think they are in one place (usually locked in a box or in some sort of peril) and they appear somewhere completely different. That is achievable with practice and the right hardware.

But what I am talking about is genuinely being in two places simultaneously. It would be so useful for those times when there are two things happening that I really would like to attend but which are taking place at the same time in different locations. I suppose with time travel (if you could travel in both directions) it may be possible.

If it was achievable it does throw up all sorts of questions. Would the human brain be able to cope with this? What would it do to people who had been at the different events who subsequently met and told each other that I had been at their event? That could cause all sorts of arguments! And if it wasn’t about time travel but about me somehow dividing myself between two locations, how would I merge the two again afterwards?

We are all time travellers. But we are all travelling through linear time in the same direction and at the same time. So until I have managed to perfect that trick or distort the laws of time and space I will have to manage like everybody else. I will have to make choices. And sometimes they will be difficult choices. That is part of being human.

>Choose whether or not to read this blogThe art is not only about taking the time and advice to make the right choice, it also about recognising that we can only have one option. There is not any point in wistfully wishing we could be in two places at once. We can’t. So we need to learn to be content that we can do one of the things and relax with that. Even if we find out we have made the wrong choice, or that the other was better, we can’t do anything about it so why worry about that?

And if we wonder how to do that, how is it possible to be content with the choices we have made even if they turned out not to be the best, let’s consider how privileged we are that we can make choices.

There are many people on this planet who do not have a choice about which restaurant to eat at, they are simply grateful if there is food and fresh water.

There are many people who do not have a choice about where to go and what to do. Slavery, bonded labour or people trafficking are very real in our world.

There are many people who are not free to make a choice about what faith to follow. If they change from the faith of their family or their country they face being expelled from the family, loss of their job, loss of rights and possibly loss of life.

Thank God if you have choices to make today, and ask him to help you to make wise choices and to be content in all circumstances. And ask him too what you can do to give the gift of choice to others? The links below may help you.

International Justice Mission

Christian Aid

Amnesty International

Be blessed, be a blessing

Touching places

I have just heard a news report that doesn’t surprise me. Apparently we are running out of space in cemeteries. I have often wondered about that when driving past cemeteries and graveyards. We have a finite amount of space and an increasing need for it.

When I was younger I used to think that cemeteries were creepy places. Most of us tend to avoid them or ignore them because they remind us of our mortality or of loved ones who have died. But I have realised that they are also special places that cherish memories and honour people. They are places of sadness and loss but also provide a touching place with the eternal.

I have had the same experience with funerals. When I was training at the vicar factory aka Spurgeon’s College I dreaded the idea of taking a funeral. I tried not to think about it but when I did I wondered if I would be able to cope with the sadness. I thought that they would be overwhelmingly desperate occasions and did not want to take any.

But when I started in my first church my wonderful colleague, friend, mentor and Senior Minister, David, showed me what a privilege it is to take a funeral service. He explained how the Minister’s role is to be a touching place with the eternal for grieving relatives and friends. He taught me the value of leading a service that enables people to say ‘goodbye’ in a positive way. He helped me to realise that it is one of the most profound services that we are asked to lead – enabling people to grieve and celebrate the life and memory of someone precious.

I hope and pray that I am able to serve people in that way. And I hope and pray that whatever solutions the government come up with about the cemetery space shortage will also have the same outcome.

Be blessed, be a blessing.