Desert Journeys – 2/3/17

Desert Journeys 2

March 2nd 2017

crowd

I am fascinated by the City of London, and the ways in which I can both be in the midst of so many people and yet at the same time feel so isolated. Walking from one place to the other for a meeting, there can be a sense of utter isolation as so many are jostling for space on the streets as they go about their business.

I occasionally find it disturbing to realise that I matter less to others than their next task, their next destination. I am simply in their way. It can be quite a devastating thought.

On Ash Wednesday, we were reminded of our mortality. “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return”. It is not a morbid thought, but instead a wake up call to us who believe we are immortal and in full control of our lives. Our human bodies are frail and utterly reliant on God for their sustenance and sustainability.

It is when I am able to confront death that my soul can start grappling with what is truly important in life, and rest into the mystery and love of God.

This Lent, I want to practice a more intentional way to be in the presence of God in the midst of the City of London. Like the early monastics in the desert, I want to slow down, notice the signs of God’s presence all around – particularly by lifting my eyes above the clamour of the crowd, or finding signs of renewal in our green spaces or seeking and contributing to places of community.

Above all, my focus is on remembering that – even in the midst of the City – bidden or unbidden, God is here – and each and every one of us is loved, and matters.

Bertrand Olivier

Vicar, All Hallows By The Tower

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3 thoughts on “Desert Journeys – 2/3/17

  1. This is a profound notion Bertrand,

    ‘I occasionally find it disturbing to realise that I matter less to others than their next task, their next destination. I am simply in their way. It can be quite a devastating thought.’

    We are often not aware of the lives we touch around us as we rush from one task to the next. Being mindful of other people’s needs maybe just means a smile, a raised eyebrow, a friendly gesture or a word of acknowledgement.
    As Maya Angelou, a spirit i much admired, would say,

    ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’

    of course Maya is so quotable i’ll end just by saying in her words

    Here on the pulse of this new day,
    You may have the grace to look up and out
    And into your sister’s eyes, into
    Your brother’s face, your country
    And say simply
    Very simply
    With hope
    Good morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Having recently left the City to live in another, much less crowded one, I am struck every time I return of how much people couldn’t care whether I lived or died here. In fact, I’m sure from the way they push and rush that they’d rather I died and got out of their way. It is such comfort to know God cares for us all and that we do count in the midst of the masses. I can then smile, notice others and extend a helping hand in the chaos, rather than simply being carried along with it.

    Liked by 1 person

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