(this was my Thought For The Day on GMU, BBC Radio Ulster, on April 15, 2021)
On Monday we walked around the Divis and Black Mountain Ridge Trail. 10,000 of my daily step count sorted.
The sun and the sky were making for great views. The Mournes down one way and the lough out towards Scotland on the other. Belfast down below. We spent time seeking out places we knew.
I remembered being at Stormont one afternoon and standing just outside the door, similarly gazing over the city.
I remember thinking that as the leader of Fitzroy, this was my task. To look out over the entire congregation, know the depths of the stories going on across the congregation and then be in a place of vision as to what is best for the congregation as a whole.
I was aware that some of the congregation would know a few people and hear stories about some others BUT I was actually paid to have a handle on the entire panorama.
I know that it is just a symbol but in the Bible you often find God on mountains and hills.
The Old Testament people of God looked to the hills where their help came from, not the hills but the God they believed lived on the top of them. The 10 commandments, that vision of how to live across an entire community, were received up a mountain and when Jesus was giving his vision of how the world could live in peace and justice, he did it in the Sermon on the Mount.
I began to think that this is what all great leaders need. A view of the entire place. Now, scattered across the city are little enclaves. In those are the community leaders, caught up in the horizontal. They are important. Vital. They lead their corners.
And of course I only look after Fitzroy.
Our MLAs and Stormont Executive look after us all, not just Belfast but across Northern Ireland. It is their role to catch a good view of the entire community, know the eccentricities and brokenness of them… every unique little place… and then work a vision for ALL, seeking common ground for common goodness.
Join me in praying for clarity of vision in their panoramas…