Weekly Reflection – A Different Perspective

12 April 2024

Planning a long journey to a meeting about ninety minutes’ drive away, I thought I should pick something (other than the satnav’s instructions!) to listen to.  Prompted by a reminder that it’s nearly a year since the Coronation, I decided to listen to the radio coverage of last May’s service.

Of course, much of the service was familiar; with a couple of hundred people watching on the the big screen in the cathedral and over eighteen million others in the UK, I saw it live.  And there’s been acres of online and print coverage on the day and since.  But there was something quite different about hearing it.  You rely on description, on other people’s words, to tell you what’s happening, what it looks and feels like.  You notice different things, find different things moving or surprising or perplexing.  There are tantalising moments of silence: when watching a screen you can always find something to look at, but when listening on the radio there’s a few seconds’ pause while something happens unseen and you wait for the next words of commentary or the next prayer or piece of music.

Working with students for nine years I spent a lot of time telling them to turn off their screens, put down their phones, and just stop to listen.  So why not try sitting still and listening this week?  Listen to yourself breathing or the song of a bird in the garden, the rustle of leaves in the street or the rush of the motorway traffic, a babbling brook or a boiling kettle.  At the very least, it will help you be calmer and re-centred, more able to focus on the person or task you have to deal with next.  You might (as I did with the Coronation) experience something more deeply or differently.  And since, as the Hebrew scriptures tell us, God can often be heard in the still small voice of calm, it may be that a few moments of daily silence and listening help you sense a divine voice, speaking words of guidance or encouragement, challenge or comfort.

With prayers and best wishes,

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Wakefield Cathedral

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