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When two worlds meet

When two worlds meet

posted Friday 25th July 2014     

When term ends and pupils say goodbye to their teachers for the final time, there will always be tears.  I am an emotional kind of guy and can be moved to tears very easily by a poignant moment.  Whilst watching the 2009 cartoon film 'Up', my grandchildren thought it strange that their grandfather was frequently wiping his eyes.

Let me tell you of two instances which trigger this reaction in me, as regular as clockwork.  In the closing moments of the pilot episode of Endeavour, the prequel to Morse, the police detective television series, Detective Inspector Thursday asks Morse where he sees himself in twenty years' time.  Endeavour looks in the rear view mirror of the car he is driving and sees the face of actor John Thaw who played the older Morse.

In the 2000 Carlton Television version of  E Nesbitt's 1905 story, 'The Railway Children’' Mother is played by Jenny Agutter, who played Roberta in the well-known 1970 film.  It's a nice touch and provides a sense of continuity, or maybe this was done to ensure publicity.  There is a moment when the children are off to explore.  Mother gives permission but warns them not to trespass on the railway. Peter admonishes his mother, 'But you went on the railway when you were young, didn't you mother?'

Both of these scenes reduces me to tears.  Why?  I think it’s because in each case two worlds, the present and the past, collide.  It’s the same when driving along a country lane in summer, I smell smoke from a bonfire which transports me back over fifty years to the world of my childhood garden.

The best example of two worlds colliding is of course, at the incarnation, when as Eleanor Hull's 1912 translation describes the 'High King of heaven, thou heaven's bright sun' came into Bethleham's ‘dark streets [where] shineth the everlasting Light, The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee ...'  Phillips Brooks continues, 'But in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.'

I have used poetry to describe this, because the central event in history deserves good description.  How beautiful it must have been to witness the world of heaven touch the world in which we presently live.  This is the heart of our regenerated lives: 'ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven'.  Now that's something to marvel at.

My mother, a sensitive soul, would describe a spiritual moment like this, 'Someone’s just walked over my grave'.  In Russia they say 'An angel is passing'.  Let’s be sensitive to such precious moments, and if they bring tears of joy and wonder to our eyes, Praise God.

With acknowledgement to Henry Lyte, Eleanor Hull and Phillips Brooks.  

Robert Hall


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