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Having a Perspective
When we made our timed exodus from Ewell Monastery at West Malling in April we knew that there would be a whole new perspective of life awaiting us in London and Cambridge. It was rather like migrating to a new country, settling in to quite different surroundings from what we had been used to for quite some time. From the electric pylons in the grounds of Cambridge Regional College to the suburbia of Herne Hill outside London was a sea change. It is not the new surroundings and new neighbours that cause the problems of re-orientating oneself so much as allowing the whole new experience to be accepted as a positive re-alignment in one's attitude to each day as it comes. In other words to get things into perspective.
On the larger scale of a lifetime we are confronted by the challenge to find a permanent orientation for ourselves which really does bring our life's attitude into a focus that makes some sense to us. The essential trivia of daily life that keep the larger issues ticking over gently and without a hiatus have not the makings of any permanent outlook for us. In today's complexities in society there is the temptation just to be swept along on a mundane tide of a life without inner substance. We may be excused for thinking that there is no settled outlook available to us when we view the evils without number afflicting many peoples of the world.
But in fact to trust one's own desire for a true perspective in life is the essential help we can also give to others not so well off as ourselves who live in a space that is free and healthy and without terrible poverty and danger. Can Christianity help us to get that balanced perspective so important in the pressures of life today? Not many people are attracted to Christian faith in the West. The churches seem totally out of touch in the way they cling to the past in many things that they are concerned with. That is partly a result of the centuries old institutionalisation of a faith which was intended to be life-giving. But there is always the opportunity for the individual in her or his life to come to faith in the living Lord as the perspective on real life in our world which makes the most sense. In Christ love cannot be quenched in the face of all the trials that can afflict us. In fact, to get a balance, a perspective, is a step towards that personal relationship with the Lord who can make all things new.
© Aelred Arnesen
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