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News and views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
Issue 6 Summer 2008

Gazing up to heaven?

I stood, gazing upwards, into the sky. It was the sound that drew my attention first, then the flickering lights and then the movement. But nothing extraordinary was happening. The sky was clear with the clarity that comes with a hint of frost. The aeroplanes appeared to be queuing up, three or four of them, one after the other, coming slowly from the north-east and with the same destination. They all began to bank and turn left just an inch above the chimney of the last house in the row in front of me. This is no coincidence, I thought. There is a plan here. Something is guiding these aeroplanes. I mused on the physics and the wonder of modern technology.

Of course each aeroplane was undoubtedly owned and operated by a different company, and had it been daylight, I might have identified them by colour. Of course they were full of different people, and probably coming from different places. Some passengers would be comfortable and confident with their flight. Some would take to the thrill of it all and some, like me when Im flying, would be nervous, apprehensive and glad to be near the end of their journey.

For Christian people, the journey of life has a specific destination and in general the same guidance systems are used. Different people travel at different speeds. Some enjoy the thrill of the journey. Some are comfortable and confident. Some, like me, are nervous and apprehensive. The value of experience differs according to personal make up, memories of the past, judgements about the present and expectations for the future. Different faith groups and even denominations offer different packages for the journey.

Whatever our understanding of the world, we are clearly all going somewhere. I would hate to be in an aeroplane that didnt know where it was heading. I would hate it even more if I felt that the pilot wasnt in control. But then, what are guidance systems for and who is it that is really in control?

And who built the guidance system? What was the objective, the vision? Could it be that Im safe after all? Will the destination be as I anticipated and hoped for? Will there be a thrill at the end, if not on the way? I shall gaze up to heaven another night: I shall muse and I shall wonder.