Every Friday, the wonderful Revd Helen Arnold (Lead Chaplain of Thames Valley Police) leads a short reflection on Teams for TVP Officers & staff. I get asked every so often to lead – this was my offering for yesterday…
I recently listened to a 3-part podcast from one of my favourite Christian speakers, Beth Moore, who is an American Bible teacher, writer, speaker. The podcast is called ‘On Edge’ which I felt was fitting for the times we are living in. However, it was into the second of the three podcasts when Beth mentioned about being with this particular audience, somewhere in New Hampshire in 2013. I had mistakenly thought this was a new podcast. Everything that she was speaking about at that time in 2013 was very relevant to today!
In the podcast, Beth was talking about different groups of people as well individuals who found themselves on the edge at various times and situations. One example was a group of people on the edge of moving into the a land that God had promised them. The other was about a woman who grabbed onto the hem of Jesus robe as he walked by her. Just for context!
What struck me about this and as I have thought about living on the edge more this week – is that a)people have often (throughout history as it turns out) found themselves living on the edge of something and b) if we are on the edge so much of the time – are we really ever on solid ground? How do we know?
Many people have found themselves living on the edge of something over the last year – as I also reflected on this in relation to the one year anniversary of lock down. The edge of sanity, breakdown, break up. The edge of health and illness, life and death. The edge of a job or relationship, financial security. The edge of decisions with potentially huge consequences both seen and unseen. We might even be on the edge of greatness, of break through, new opportunities. Edges everywhere you look!
We might wonder however we ended up on the edge of where we are as it seemed just to have happened. Edges are important though. At the end of the podcast, Beth Moore, talked about edges and hems are being necessary as without them everything falls apart. The hem on a garment keeps it from unravelling. Sometimes we are on the edge of something new to keep the rest of life from unravelling. We need an edge, it is the edge that can lead us to solid ground.
I heard this poem recently – I think it is fitting for those on the edge.
For Longing by John O’Donohue
Blessed be the longing that brought you here
And quickens your soul with wonder.
May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.
May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease
To discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.
May the forms of your belonging—in love, creativity, and friendship—
Be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.
May the one you long for long for you.
May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.
May a secret Providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.
May your mind inhabit life with the sureness with which your body inhabits the
May your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.
May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.
May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.