Stop the world, I want to get off. I wonder how many of us feel like that from time to time?
The pressures, demands and business of life press in on us; we feel we can no longer cope; we want everything to stop for a few minutes, hours, a day.
Events around the world and in our local communities - such as we’re experiencing in an unprecedented way at the moment - feel oppressive and alarming.
The daily routine of life, whatever that may be for any of us, can feel relentless.
“Stop the world, I want to get off” is often said in jest, but underlying it can be a genuine cry for peace at the very heart of our being.
As a Christian I spend time each day in prayer and in those moments of stillness and quiet there’s an opportunity to give thanks and praise and intercession for others.
But there’s also time to experience “the peace of God which passes all understanding”. It’s a peace that goes beyond a sense of just having a few moments relief from the relentlessness and weariness of life.
It’s something that goes to the heart of my being, to the soul.
It’s something to do with experiencing the deep love of Christ and knowing that in him all is well.
Just recently I was privileged enough to have a day’s retreat with colleagues. That gave a few hours to reflect deeply on scripture and my life and relationship with Jesus.
At the end of it there was a sense of refreshment and renewal facilitated by a time away from the hustle and bustle of daily ministry.
Whether you are a Christian or not, whether you have time to get away for a few hours - all of us need to create space for settling our hearts and minds, for reflecting deeply, to enjoy life at a different pace, to experience an inner peace and reconciliation.
We need time to reclaim lost or abandoned or forgotten parts of the self.
We need time to admire something beautiful, to go outside the normal routine of life so something new can happen, to answer an inner calling, yearning or searching.
It’s part of life’s journey which for Christians is bound up in coming from and returning to God, a spiritual journey.
How you find space and time for deeply personal reflection will depend on different things such as personality and character, family circumstances, whether you are a person of faith or not, in work or out of work, but also simply by being desirous to do it and not let life run away with you.
I encourage you all, whoever you are, whatever your circumstances, to afford yourself the privilege of simply ‘Being’ and not always ‘doing’.
You will be amazed at how life-giving that will be.
* Peter Burrows, Bishop of Doncaster