Stop, look and listen at the world around you

ALTHOUGH there are no level crossings in Ilkeston, there are several not far away.

As you approach a level crossing you will meet a warning sign which says, “Stop, Look, Listen.” This is a piece of sound advice which could apply to the whole of life itself.

Stop and look at the wonderful world around you. For many people there seems no time to stop.

Life is crowded with ‘stuff’ that when the opportunity comes to stop and draw breath we are too tired to enjoy our friends or to enjoy our surroundings. However a new word has entered our vocabulary – ‘Staycation’ or stopping at home.

Instead of flying to some remote part of the world folks are staying home and making the best of the local places of interest.

Stop and listen to the sounds all around us. I am sure we all realise that God’s creation is not a silent world. If you pause you will hear the sound of traffic on the ground or in the air, the sound of birdsong or possibly the cheering of a crowd.

We do not live in a silent world. And listening is an art which needs to be nourished. If we stop and look at the news we are sometimes challenged with images of suffering and starving people, and this week the focus is on Christian Aid for it is Christian Aid week.

This week started some years ago and continues to train the spotlight on needy people right across the world. The first £5m donated to Christian Aid this year will be matched by the UK Government pound for pound enabling Christian Aid to help more people in poor communities work their way out of poverty.

Several charitable organisations are adopting this approach to the critical problems which face our world today.

So stop and look and listen. And don’t stop looking and don’t stop listening. For as the Bible says, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: they will mount up and soar as on eagles wings; they will run and nor be weary, they will march on and not faint.”

Geoffrey Halliday

Associate Priest at Cotmanhay and Shipley