Bishop PeterBe ready to glimpse God’s love in the everyday

I have largely resisted the temptation to wax lyrical about the sabbatical three months that I had in the latter part of last year, but the dark days of January have prompted me to reflect on one particular experience that followed Liz and I as we travelled through France in those first few weeks of our time away. Some of you may know that I have a fondness for bird watching.  This never gets serious enough to gain me entry into the ‘twitcher’ fraternity, but does provide me with memorable ‘glimpses of glory’ from time to time.  One of the joys of my office in the Palace is that its window looks out on to the moat and I have regular sights of a kingfisher as it goes about its daily business.  Little did I expect that our trip round France would be interrupted with similar sightings at every place we stayed.  At first I put it down to coincidence, but as a friend remarked perhaps it was ‘God incidence’
The writer, Chris Arthur, in a lovely book of essays called ‘Words of the Grey Wind’, speaks challengingly about the Kingfisher.  “Is our life punctuated by a flash of kingfisher colour as something transcendent impinges upon us, or are we imprisoned in the world we see, earth bound and clumsy, shackled immovably to the chains of our own finitude? I’ve looked hard”, he goes on, “for the fly past that might herald such otherness.  Sometimes I have been surprised by something unexpected, sudden, beautiful, seemingly like the stuff of fantasy, too exotic for the mundane world.  But have I really seen it? Sometimes nothing much seems to stir above the waters of the ordinary.  But has my vigil been sufficiently keen to catch that sudden glimpse of sapphire light?” As the dark days of winter begin to give way to the onset of spring, may our hearts and lives be ready, amongst what appears to be the ordinary and the everyday, to catch a glimpse of that sudden flash of azure light, perhaps in the laughter of a child, in the kindness of a neighbour, the hospitality of a stranger, or in that first glimpse of a snowdrop, that reveals to us something of the wonder, the beauty and the love of our God. +Peter Taunton