A matter of perspective

I love using Google Earth. The image of our rotating planet is mesmerizing, so tranquil in the vacuous oceans of Space. But what I enjoy most is the visual journey down to a specific location. The globe rotates as the camera angle swings down at lightening speed towards the ground and a tiny space on the surface of the earth. I can even see my own house and the cars parked in front. This is my world.

Which is my world?

My planet or my house?...

In my experience, Bible-reading has focussed on getting meaning from the small, the close-up. Bible studies have pulled apart verses and reflected on passages no larger than half a chapter at most. Tremendous life-change has been found in those moments; there is something so powerful and necessary about connecting with specific stories or statements.

But the intense meaning I find from being at home is given context by a wider view of the world. Gazing at the stillness of tumultuous oceans and cities from miles above gives me a perspective on life I can’t get in the humdrum of local life.

Reading the Bible in one year has opened for me a different view of the scriptures, one that is less immediate, but no less meaningful. Stepping back and reading large chunks at a time helps me see the storylines in a way I could not before. The Bible becomes less a manual for specific decisions and more a world to inhabit. I am given perspective on life from this view in ways that intricate investigation could not provide.

This year may be for many of us a chance to get some perspective so that when we plunge back down into the familiarity of the specific we are empowered with new eyes to see new things and find new meaning.