The Parish of Burchetts Green

Looking with different eyes and from a different perspective can be interesting says Rev Dilys

Alphabetical order is something we're all used to as a convenient method of cataloguing and processing all sorts of data. When I was at school being dealt with in alphabetical order didn't affect me particularly as I was an 'L' - my maiden name being Lees and therefore comfortably placed in the middle. However, when I married and became a 'W alphabetical order had a quite different effect as suddenly I was always at the tail-end of any list (apart from the odd 'Y').

We are dealt all sorts of givens in life and make the most of them but it's always interesting to look with fresh eyes from a different perspective.

Coming and going

Outward and return journeys using the same route are never from the same perspective and give a very different view. We notice things on the return that we missed on the outward, and vice versa. Travelling in a train facing the direction of travel is a different experience from sitting with your back to the engine. Images are respectively zooming in with greater clarity or diminishing and fading.

Over the Christmas period I read Bishop Stephen Cottrell's book Walking backwards to Christmas. He dedicates the book “For all those who thought they new the story well”

It’s very simple read (as his books usually are) but by telling the story in reverse order, it gives a different perspective and reveals insights that we miss in the traditional forward facing story.

We are now at the end of the Christmas season, celebrating Candlemas - when Jesus was taken to the temple by his parents, as was the Jewish tradition. So 'Walking backwards to Christmas' begins at Candlemas.

In the beginning...

Bishop Stephen takes the key characters from the Christmas narrative, beginning at the end with Anna in the temple, and through each personal story the whole of the incredible story of the incarnation is given a new perspective and our vision is expanded.

The final reverse order character is not Mary as one might expect as we usually think the Christmas narrative begins with the annunciation. The walking backwards takes us literally back to the Old Testament, where Isaiah prophecies the birth of the Messiah and even further back to the final character Moses. God called to Moses out of the burning bush reveal ing that darkness will be scattered and the light will forever blaze.

I commend this book to you as a spiritual journey. I am the Alpha and the Omega the beginning and the end/ said Jesus and this delightful reverse journey helps us on our way. The 'W's or sitting with our back to the engine can in the end be an advantage! Enjoy the snowdrops, the warming sun and the lengthening days.

Every blessing

Reverse Order