The Southbank of the Thames river surprised me.
We’d toured the city of London for several days, walking miles with heads tilted back, constantly looking up up up at the beautiful buildings, cathedrals, palaces. We were in a perpetual state of looking up, always up, taking in the breath-taking sites as we stood like ants at the base.
But by chance we walked across the Westminster bridge and found ourselves on the Southbank. It was a beautiful walk, as the evening sun was setting, and we took our time looking out over the river as we walked.
But then we glanced back and saw the real sight.
From across the river, you can look over and really see. From that distance you can really see what the buildings look like, and how they look in relation to each other. St. Paul’s and Westminster and the Parliament buildings all look amazing when you can actually stand back far enough to see them. When actually in the city, you’re far too close to take them all in. Isn’t that true with anything? You have to stand back far enough to see.
And the larger something is, the farther back you have to stand.
So in order to see a continent, a culture, perhaps sometimes we need to stand back really far, like all the way across an ocean … Perhaps?
Honestly, the best part of our trip was the simple gift of perspective.
In the very first conference at the Single-Minded conference Jeff talked a lot about idols. We asked challenging questions and prayed that God would gently and graciously show us what idols we still are clinging to in our hearts. As we heard right before we left,
“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” Jonah 2:8
I for one do NOT want to forfeit any grace; I need all that I can get!
Jeff talked about how most of our idols can be reduced down to one of four basic idols:
We all can be prone to these at different times, but I’d never so clearly seen how much we as Americans do bow down to that last one — the idol of comfort.