Thursday, 7 August 2014

Thought for the Day, BBC Radio Ulster, 7 August

I was always intrigued by those signposts that said, “The Ulster Way”.
I have always intended to follow them, ... but never got round to it.
I once believed that roads were objective and absolute facts. I never questioned them.
They were just there.  I travelled the same roads each day for years.
Then they made the Westlink,
and I discovered that roads can be moved,
everyone’s path redirected,
by civil servants and planners,
potentially influenced by politicians
and by the people who take enough interest to think about what is happening,
and protest if they don’t like it.

Roads are a process, not a final goal.
They appear as the process of human interaction.
As ants follow ants,
most people follow people,
a crowd follows a crowd,
and their beaten track becomes the road
around which everything else is built.

In the words of the Dire Straits song:
“The dirty old track...was the Telegraph Road.”

In his book, “We make the road by walking”…
Brian D. McLaren encourages everyone to take responsibility for their part in leading others,
in making the road.
We all shape the direction of society by the choices we make,
the ways we choose to go.
But there will always be what Robert Frost 's poem called “The Road Not Taken",
AND the title of M. Scott Peck's book, "The Road Less Travelled.”  It’s a Way of integrity,
of oneness with God and with Creation.
Jesus of Nazareth spoke of the Road being narrow –
“Enter through the narrow gate.
For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction,
and many enter through it.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life,
and only a few find it.” (Mt 7.13)
In the same chapter, Matthew 7, his words are reported:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
 For in the same way as you judge others,
you will be judged,
and with the measure you use,
it will be measured to you.
And take the plank out of your own eye
before you tackle the speck in your brother or sister’s eye.”
 The Traditional Routes
of comparison and resentment,
condemnation and hypocrisy,
of polarised communities
and blind following,
can be changed…
when you and I choose to change direction,
to follow this Different Path.

To love our neighbour
- and our enemy,
to live fully as created and creative beings,
and to be free.
Following this man,
who calls himself the Way, (John 14.7)
is a long tradition of eccentrics.
Their path is neither safe nor mindless. 
It leads through the valley of the shadow of death,

but also through green pastures. AND it restores the soul.
This could be a new Ulster Way.
If enough of us would get round to following Him.

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