faith comment newsletters annual reports archives audio video minutes Petersfield Radio

Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

24 July 2019: Peter Jolly, Petersfield United Reformed Church

Pausing for thought

Perhaps it is a matter of advancing years, but I increasingly notice the frequency with which I pass pedestrians seemingly talking to no-one. Are they, I wonder, speaking to me? But then I realise that they are addressing their loved one, or whomsoever, through the tiniest microphone in their mobile phones, and hearing the reply in their earplugs. Those younger than me cannot be parted from their source of instant amusement and communication for more than a minute. Go into any coffee shop and what do you see? Laptops, tablets and mobile phones abound.

Now the internet is a wonderful beast for obtaining immediate answers to urgent domestic queries, from replacing tap washers to real-time train delays - I wouldn’t be without it. When I was in professional practice nearly fifty years ago, plucking up courage to deal with a difficult letter, I knew that once consigned to the post I could blissfully forget the file for at least two days, perhaps a week. Then came telex, fax, and universal email, (to say nothing of tweeting, Facebook and suchlike), and respite from that difficult problem becomes a matter of minutes only. I really wonder whether in the pressure of everyday life we make space for ourselves to think and relax.

In Chapter 3 of the Book of Ecclesiastes we find some wise words, paraphrased in a song set to music by Pete Seeger and recorded by the Byrds “Turn, Turn, Turn” – There is a time in this world for everything – including a time for silence and a time to talk. Perhaps the Quakers have right idea in their meetings. Quiet contemplation and prayer, seeking God’s will. Time to stop and think, to put matters in perspective. Time to reflect before you hit the “send” button on that none too-cleverly worded email?

PACT Holiday Club is scheduled to start, with a new format and location, on Friday 26 July

web design by SiteWeave