News of a helter-skelter in a cathedral reminded me of my first two children going down one. The first went down sliding on his mat but very carefully controlling his speed by gripping the sides. He went so slowly that another rider nearly slammed into him. Our second child went down with no such control. She allowed the mat to carry her and flew round and round, arriving at speed on the crash mat below.
When preparing a talk on one of the Psalms, I thought about how we often try to control God. We have names and labels that tell us what to expect of “Our Father” and the “Almighty”. We use our prayers and traditions to worship, to ask for forgiveness, strength and help. These are all good and important. Psalm 42 has that poetic crying out to God, pictured as a thirsty wild animal panting for refreshment. The familiar words “Why are you downcast O my soul” bring our deepest depression into focus. The writer knew that God is true and because of that, determined to be positive: “Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.”
But there is another picture of God’s presence and it is not something within our control. “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” If this is about God’s love it sounds like it is more than the writer could cope with. A song “Overwhelmed by love” written by Noel Richards sets this thought to a more modern tune.
In times of trouble we have to be responsible for our actions and do what we must do. However there is also a sense that when God steps in, it could be beyond our calculations and control. It would be a pity if we put the brakes on and stopped God’s love from shining through.
Best wishes, Revd Kevin Chandra