Around the World 7th May 2023

Today I walked ‘around the world’. That is the name we give in our family for a circular walk which is probably no more than 3 miles long and takes about 90 minutes to complete, but which takes in a route past the church, up and down narrow lanes past fields of sheep and cattle, onward to Gypsy Rock, with a brief daliance with open moorland, before descending back home via more country lanes and a ‘busy’ road. Why ‘around the world’? I have no idea except while walking it this morning I mused that this is our world, the sights and sounds of bluebells and birdsong, of sheep and cattle and the occasional horse and rider and car. It maybe that others in the village use the same description for this walk too.

Gypsy Rock. Everyone locally knows this slab of granite as Gypsy Rock but I have no idea why! I have heard tell that it was the place of meeting for the Saxon Hundred but I have no evidence to support this view. It is another local mystery but if you live in Walkhampton most people know what it means when you say, ‘I’ve walked up to Gypsy Rock.’

Post-retirement I can take these walks without having to think I have a meeting to attend or a service to prepare. I am currently enjoying attending 8 o’clock services at Tavistock. Definitely a minority sport these days but I take my hat off to the faithful few who get up early on Sunday to attend church. I have the pleasure of being surprised with joy at some of the sights of Spring like a wood filled with bluebells.

Sight and Insight 5th May 2023

There is often a play on the themes of sight and insight in the Gospels. The blind see while those with sight don’t see. The miracle stories operate on multiple levels. There is the miracle itself with the restoration of the person who is unsighted. There is the reaction of the crowd who question who Jesus is. There is the reaction of the disciples who are unsighted to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. Only rarely do they glimpse this reality only for it to disappear from their sight. The religious elite are just totally bewildered, angry and upset as Jesus asks them awkward questions which makes their blood boil to the point of wanting Jesus put to death.

As I advance in years, every trip to the opticans seems to demand an increase in the strength of my lens prescription. My eyesight is gradually altering, should I say failing? I am not convinced there is a direct correlation between failing physical sight and gaining greater insight, but it is a thought worth considering. As the number of years ahead of me rapidly diminishes compared with the number I have already spent on this earth, the need to consider ones purpose for being here becomes more urgent. The unexamined life is not worth living, according to Socrates and the challenges Jesus throws out also demand examination. To fail to do so is to miss living life to the full. In Jesus’ day different people reacted to him in different ways. The same holds true today. He remains misunderstood, misrepresented, lambasted and, dare one say, largely ignored. He is judged by the failings of his followers, the church, who, like the disciples have an unerring ability to lack insight and only rarely glimpsing the reality of Jesus, the Son of God.

Retirement 3rd May 2023

Week 1 has dawned as I get used to winding down over the next few weeks. The urge to “do stuff” remains strong as does the difficulty in settling down to do very little. Should I be sitting here reading a book? Can I take the dogs out for a 2 hour walk? What are the markers that define the week? All this is new territory!

No doubt things will settle down over the next few weeks.