By DEREK RUMBOL
Tuesday 28 July 2020
In my former work for BMS World Mission I often used to compare the region I
was responsible for as “about the size of Wales”. Indeed my colleagues in
other countries often did the same. We teased each other frequently about
this. Reflecting on this in early retirement I wrote the following:
DO I HAVE AN IDENTITY?
I’ve done it myself. And others have said so frequently, it’s almost become a
The area where I work is ‘about the size of Wales’ Is that all that can be said
about the Principality? To be an object of comparison? Is there nothing more?
A lilting language. The harmony of voices, mixed and male. Ranges of
mountains shrouded in mist or revealing their glory through shafts of golden
sun. The pounding of mighty waterfalls. The breeze freshening expanse of
coastal paths. Not to mention the people, justifiably proud of their nation. Oh
to hear them sing: ‘Land of my fathers’ as the players prepare to tackle the
opposing fifteen. A people loving, devoted, dynamic.
So Wales must be much more than a place defined by size or area. It can stand
in its own right and proudly bear its name.
Do we stand or fall by how we imagine we compare with those better or less?
Do we look at others in the light of our own hopes, fears and complexes? “Are
they like us?” we muse. She reminds me of someone I’ve met.”
And how do people see us? “You’ve had an op? Oh just look at the size of my
scar! Oh what a terrible time I had!”
But wait, you wail. What about me? Can you see me? Or do you always
compare – with yourself and others?
* * * * * * * *
In Mark 10:21 we read these words of Jesus talking with the rich young ruler:
“Jesus looked at him … and loved him.”
How do we look at others?