"I can hear a trolley coming..."


During the conversation on Theology and Practice of Reconciliation last week the lead participant from the activist side was Dr. Duncan Morrow, the Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council, while his correspondent from the theological perspective was Professor Drew Gibson, a specialist in practical theology from Union Theological College in Belfast.

Drew argued vociferously for a Christian ethos based upon a theology of the last times, or eschatology to use the technical term... Just as he was standing up to make his response to Duncan's initial paper, someone who was clearly as desperate for caffeine as I was said
"I can hear a trolley coming..."

What we hear, or want to hear coming, can sometimes drown out what people are saying now... Causing us to miss the opportunities of grace that God has for us here.

Yes, there is an extent to which our theology should be future-focused, but it should never make us so heavenly minded that... well, you know the rest...

In my current church we used to run weekly Alpha Course dinners on a Friday night, and one man, Tommy Murphy, was chief waiter... We knew the dinner was coming when we heard Murph's trolley clicking and clanking its way up the brick-floored corridor...

Four years ago this month Murph died suddenly and unexpectedly. He lived his life to the full and for others; particularly for his family and his church. He knew where he was going in the future, but he lived his life in the here and now. And he died as he lived.

The corridor is no longer brick-floored and we currently don't run Alpha dinners...
But I still hear his trolley coming...
It echoes from my past and speaks of a future I anticipate sharing with him.
But it inspires me to get on with living out my faith in the present.
"It's Friday, but the trolley's coming..."
For a fuller description of the conversation that inspired this series of reflections and another perspective on it, read Glenn Jordan's blog.

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