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  • Writer's picturegailphilip4

Try using a periscope

In the 1950’s the use of cardboard hand-held periscopes was a common sight. They enabled the viewer to see over the heads of the crowds in front of them. If you look closely at film of the Queen’s Coronation in 1953, for example, you will see lots of these periscopes in use. There were military and naval uses for periscopes. In WW1 soldiers used them to peep over the edge of the trenches to watch the enemy without risk of being shot. Submarines used periscopes to see what was going on above them.

A few years ago I did an Assembly at Mablins Lane school which had a focus on a periscope I had made at home. We had a volunteer demonstrate the way it was possible to crouch down behind a screen yet still see what was going on through the periscope. It seemed to catch the children’s attention for the gimmick value.

So... what was the point of this exercise? Well, something like this. We all need a periscope. If you face a problem, use your periscope to see beyond, to see what is above and beyond, to see the future. Don’t allow yourself to be fixated on the present, to let the present issue overwhelm you.

Take anger management, for example. It’s all too easy to allow anger to get the better of you when someone annoys you. The periscope lets you see beyond the present. To see a time when the source of the annoyance will fade into the distance and seem quite trivial. To regard it as just one silly bump along the road.

Take the lock-down. One day it will be a memory. One day the precautions and restrictions will be understood as necessary (or at least we will say they were judged to be necessary) even if we disagree with some of them now. The periscope also enables us to see that other situations could be even more challenging for people. Someone said on the radio that certain people such as the Jews were in lock-down in extremely cramped (and risky) conditions during WW2. Far worse than our situation now. The periscope helps us to see beyond our own private problem.

The caption which goes with the picture below is Marketeers use periscopes effectively. Why would they use periscopes? Well, they cannot afford to simply focus on the present situation. They must look around to see what is happening. They must use what they see to think strategically. Follow their lead.

I don’t suppose Jesus had a periscope, nor are they probably mentioned in scripture. But lots of things Jesus said are about looking and seeing properly. Seeing the bigger picture. Not letting present problems dominate. Coming to the light. Walking in the light.

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