On one side there is a local road with houses on the other side. On another are the backs of houses. On the third is a main road, East Way, beyond this main road, a few hundred yards away, is the M55 motorway which is elevated above the level of Easy Way. Up there on it’s embankment it obscuring the view of everything beyond.
All in all it doesn’t make for the most inspiring of views. It’s fine if you want to know how many people have been to the Pleasure Beach in Blackpool and are now stuck in the queue trying to get onto the M6. Other than that it’s an ordinary urban view on the edge of a city.
But all of this tarmac and concrete hides a secret.
The church buildings have, until recently, all been on ground level. From down there the secret is completely hidden behind the M55.
A recent set of extension has added a new, two story, part to the side of the building facing north and the M55 embankment. One of the things that the architect wanted to create in this new part of the building was a light and airy space. There are big windows on both the ground and first floor, it’s facing north so they needed to let in as much light as possible.
(A quick aside. If you are not from the UK, you perhaps think that the first floor is on the ground, but here in the UK we call the floor on the ground the “ground floor”. The floor immediately above ground level we call the “first floor”, not the “second floor”, OK?)
Up on the first floor these big windows open up the secret. The elevated position reveal what is hidden beyond. It’s not visible every day, the weather conditions have to be right, but that just adds to the mystery.
Recently I was in a meeting on the first floor and was sat facing the window. It was a crisp clear day, cold, but fine. It was a morning meeting and we started in the dark. As time progressed I looked out of the window to see the sun rising in the sky lighting up the snow capped mountains of the Lake District beyond.
The Lake District was recently voted Britain’s greatest natural wonder. I’m not sure about that, but they are quite impressive all the same, and they are only 30 miles, or so, away.
You wouldn’t know they were there from the ground, up on the first floor the view is glorious. It’s an elevation of only a few feet, but it makes all of the difference.
In the Bible Jesus used to go off and climb mountains when he wanted to be alone with his father. I always thought that this was so that he could be closer to God, because I thought of God as “up there”. Recently I’ve wondered whether he went up into the mountain so he could get a better perspective down, not up.
God, of course, is everywhere and you don’t need to climb high so he can hear you, but looking down on a situation certainly gives you a different view. It gives you a longer view. It gives you a broader view. It gives you an unobstructed view.
(The picture isn’t one taken from the window, it’s one I took while in Keswick on a quiet day, special days)