Friday, 17 September 2021

Still spreading the word, only faster

RECENTLY I have found it necessary twice to drive along the M25, going in different directions from the M4 and M40 junctions.

No matter which part you use or what time of day you choose (for my latest journey I left home at 8.15am on a Thursday), we know that traffic will be busy in this area.

But it’s not until you drive along our motorways that you realise just how much we rely on road transport.

There was a report recently that said it’s now quicker to cycle than to travel by car on some of our major roads, such is the congestion.

As a youngster, I cycled many miles up and down the South Wales valleys in pursuit of photographing rapidly disappearing steam trains.

That changed when I passed my driving test and on my 21st birthday I came into possession of a 1948 Ford Poplar, costing the princely sum of £25.

The car had no heater and when going uphill a design fault caused the windscreen wipers to stop!

Traffic volumes and speeds were different in those days and I have now reached an age when I don’t relish the idea of taking up cycling again.

It is, of course, possible to travel at much higher speeds today than we did in years gone by; very few of us would relish the idea of travelling by stagecoach across the country, taking several days for the journey.

One result of today’s travel and communications is the speed at which we can learn of the happenings in the world.

We can learn of suffering in far-off lands almost as soon as it happens, yet in our own towns and villages it may take days for us to realise that someone is unwell. We can still be very slow to learn about things happening in our own area because we might rely not on electronics but on word of mouth.

Some information can take as long to reach us today as it did 100 years ago, perhaps even 2,000 years ago.

We have passed through the pain of the crucifixion and celebrated the glory of the resurrection; we will know the glory of the risen Lord.

How did that news travel at the time? It travelled by word of mouth, but no faster than someone could walk, or at the speed of a donkey or maybe a boat.

The facilities were primitive, there was no postal service as we would know it, no telephones, no emails, no radio stations.

We are indebted to people like Paul and his methods of communication, his letters, his travels, and to so many people since those times for making sure that the Good News of the Risen Christ has been passed down to us over the generations.

His methods were all he had available to him but he used what he had to ensure that 2,000 years later those events in Jerusalem are known to us and that we can recognise our duty to pass them on to generations to come.

The resurrection should lead us to develop our links with people at home and overseas who still haven’t heard this wonderful message and when they do hear it, we can take heart in the knowledge that the Church’s faith is being celebrated and that our faith can change us and change the world and do so not at the speed of a donkey but at the speed of our electronic devices.

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