Personal Touch

I watched the news report on the bus accident in Tasmania early this week, shaking my head at the tragedy which ended the lives of a group of tourists. The simplicity of the circumstances which resulted in the death of four people, three of them from overseas, was incredible. I contemplated the fragility of life.

Then, as we were farewelling family (which included Evís Uncle and Aunt from Scotland) the following night, a phone call brought news that two of those killed in the accident were cousins of Evís parents and Uncle and Aunt. The news report suddenly took on a much different meaning. What had been an item of passing interest in the catalogue of news events which appear every day now became something of central interest. Though these were cousins I had not met, I watched as those who had been close to them struggled in face of this shocking reality. Less than a week ago, they had spent time together in the Blue Mountains, promising to catch up on their respective returns to Scotland. All those plans were now a crumpled wreck, like the bus which carried these folk to their untimely deaths.

In the myriad reflections since that night, I have pondered the differences in my response to the article in the newspaper from morning to night. In the morning I had simply read the headline and glanced through perhaps the opening paragraph. That evening, in the light of the phone call and discussions with family, I read the article with more intensity as I sought to reconstruct in my own mind the terrible events. For now I had a relationship with the occupants. Having listened to relatives telling of the lives of this couple, I now entered into the tragedy of this story in a new way. What a difference a relationship with the people in the story makes.

As quietness descended on our household, and I pondered the day, I reflected on the scriptures... and wondered about peopleís interest in the stories of Jesus. They do make interesting reading of themselves: an informative picture on a life. But when one establishes a relationship with the subject of the stories, they take on new power, new importance.

In reading the scriptures there is a two-fold effect: as we know Jesus more, we want to read more of Him, and the more we read of Him, the deeper our relationship becomes. We just need to move beyond information into relationships.

February 25, 2001
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