Fancy a hot air balloon ride in the Lake District?
Some of you may have watched two hours of a hot air balloon trip from the top of Thirlmere in the Lake District to Bowness on Lake Windermere (Sunday night Channel 5, 6pm – 8pm). I find these documentary-type programmes totally absorbing. This one was similar to a programme about a canal boat on the Kennet and Avon Canal, and a steam train trip from Fort William to Mallaig. For some folk I guess these programmes are a test of endurance, but to me they are totally absorbing.
Why? Well if you consider the balloon trip last night, you have privileged access to a vast array of wonderful scenery in a much shorter period of time than could be achieved otherwise. And you have it in pretty fine detail – you can see the cars, people, cows, trees, boats, etc; you can hear sounds coming up from the ground; you can even get the odd smell. “What a wonderful world!” as Louis Armstrong would say.
There is also a lesson in perspective and relative distance. At one point the comment was made that while the balloon seems to move very slowly, it is also covering ground faster than a person would be running. On an even vaster scale you have the same phenomenon from the window of an aircraft: the landscape below creeps by, yet the plane is moving at over 500 miles per hour! What does ‘fast’ mean? What does ‘slow’ mean? Answer: it depends!
Apply that principle to life. One step unaided for a previously bedridden patient is a very big deal! One step to a boisterous 5 year old is nothing!
One day Jesus observed a poor widow putting the equivalent of a few pence in the Temple collection. Wealthy people put in the equivalent of £10 notes. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:43-44)
After telling the parable of The Lost Sheep who had been found and rescued Jesus said: “I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine respectable people who do not need to repent”. (Luke 15:7)