Nearly every day for the last five years I have walked down the High Street in Cheltenham. Recently challenged by a passage I read by an American geographer, Yi-Fu Tuan, I sat down and wrote out all the shops I could remember along this route. My wife Anna did the same; we compared notes and then walked the route again and marked the list. Anna had missed off all the ‘techie’ shops. I missed most of the fashion shops – got ’Next’, missed ‘Top Shop’. We both missed ‘Game’, because neither of us has the slightest interest in computer gaming.
What do we see? From our last church prayer meeting we went out in three groups in different directions out of St Matthew’s Church with the simple instruction – Pray for what you see. We all returned having seen something afresh. In the Psalms we read (94:9) – Does he who formed the eye not see? In the creation story we read that God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. Jesus saw the crowds and had compassion on them (Matthew 9:36).
You might like to think of a route that you think is familiar; write down what you remember along the route and then compare it to what you see. You too might find that you see something new in the familiar. And be prompted to pray for what you see rather than just what you think you see.
By the Revd Dr Canon Tudor Griffiths, Cheltenham Area Dean