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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Railway Lines and Electricity Poles

Walking along the railway line (disused, I hasten to add, with no remaining tracks!) in Newtyle yesterday, enjoying the spring sunshine in between the wintry downpours, I noticed the electricity poles on either side of the embankment. Their tops were below the height of the embankment, and the wires disappeared underneath my feet. 

A bit further on, I realized that the tree branches stretching towards the path were actually at the tops of majestic trees, rooted in the ground fifteen feet below. It struck me as kind of weird that whoever constructed the railway thought it a good idea to raise it above the surrounding fields, rather than keeping it on the level.  Why?

Many times our eyes scan a landscape and miss the detail. How many hours were spent deliberating and considering where to carry the power or lay the tracks? How many heated discussions took place? How many friends and colleagues found their opposing views were vindicated when problems arose around the chosen method or route?

Years later, and here I was walking along the peaceful path. The ground on which I walked would have once reverberated under the weight and power of steam trains puffing along. The tree branches would not have reached that height, perhaps, and if they did, they might have been forcibly pruned by each passing engine. A very different landscape from what was there fifty or a hundred years ago.

Every day we walk through terrains where once there would have been drama and confrontation, violence and coercion, joy and sorrow. Not far from our home is a hill where Mary Queen of Scots watched her troops defeat the Duke of Gordon and his troops. Today it is peaceful. Deserted. 

Places of conflict today will one day fall silent, hopefully, because peace will return to the land. Places where horror and brutality send shivers up our spines may one day ring again with the joyful laughter of children. 

Life is a journey. We walk through our every day, sometimes aware, sometimes oblivious, of the history of our locations. 

We are told at the end of the Bible that there will come a time when God will live amongst us here, as heaven is revealed and as all tears are washed away, all sorrows comforted, and death is no more. 

One wonders if there will always be an atmosphere of remembrance, though, a sort of sense of the traumas and dramas once played out here.

Just as my gratitude to Jesus is cemented in an appreciation for what he did for me by hanging on that cruel cross, perhaps there is a sense where the sacrifices of history form a foundation for the joys of heaven to come. To have such memories erased somehow cheapens the price that others have paid to see God’s kingdom come, and his will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Does that make sense?

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