Beyond the rubble…

Well it’s been a bit of an upside-down week in Dock-world…    Just after we returned from our wee break in Galway last week, Susan ended up in the Royal Victoria Hospital and is currently still there undergoing treatment for a blood clot.  She is OK and the doctors are happy that she is making good progress, but it was a pretty major scare.  Huge thanks to the massive network from Holywood, Carrowdore and hundreds of other places who prayed, texted, called and generally held us aloft on a wave of love and support!  It’s all very, very much appreciated by both of us, and there have been answered prayers left, right and centre even through the worry of the last few days.

In the middle of all this I had completely forgotten that, a few weeks ago, I’d been asked to write a Holy Week Meditation for the Irish News – when a friend texted me yesterday that I was in the paper again, I rushed out and got the last copy in the shop!  Just in case any of you aren’t Irish News subscribers (and there must be at least one or two of you out there), this is the article… funny how it takes on greater significance for me after the events of this week…

Resurrection is currently happening on a daily basis in Belfast’s historic docklands. The old shipyards, famous amongst other things for being the birthplace of RMS Titanic, are being transformed from rusty industrial wastelands to dynamic new complexes of apartments, businesses, colleges and tourist attractions – Belfast’s Titanic Quarter.

But resurrection isn’t always obvious when it’s in progress. When I was appointed Chaplain to the Titanic Quarter a few months ago, some people thought I’d taken leave of my senses. Chaplain to a building site – no congregation, no church building, no community. Some days it’s hard to imagine the finished product amongst the earth-movers, JCBs and scaffolding.

Seeing beyond rubble to beauty requires vision – an Easter perspective. Developers’ vision can see a thriving community where now there is only wasteland. Jesus’ vision could see victory and redemption where his disciples could see only defeat, arrest, torture, death. God’s vision can see potential and worth in us where we can only see our mistakes and regrets.
During Holy Week, it is worth reflecting that this Easter perspective gives hope when we can only see the messy business of work in progress – whether in a city or in a person – in you or in me.

So just as I sign off, here is your Dock Easter meditation.  This was spotted by Heather The Official Dock Photographer amongst the rubble of the building site out behind the Drawing Offices – it’s an old concrete wall, probably scheduled for demolition, actually very near the slipway where Titanic was built.  I guess you can’t get a much clearer symbol of finding God’s hope amongst rubble and brokenness.  So if you have a few moments over Easter, meditate on this photo for a while – think of all the ‘rubble’ of the things that make no sense to you – and ask God to show you how his presence and love are actually right there in the middle of it all.

4 thoughts on “Beyond the rubble…”

  1. We continue to pray for Susan and hope to call at the hospital tomorrow afternoon.
    Thanks for your inspiring easter message above.


  2. Awesome! How can I print it off?
    So sorry to hear of Susan’s problem. God was on your side when you got it diagnosed in time. Will keep you both in my prayers


  3. Dearest Chris and Susan,

    What a wonderful Easter message, your inspiration is amazing. We are so sorry to hear of Susan’s illness you are both in our thoughts and prayers and hoping for a full, fast recovery. What wonderful memories of that wonderful weekend in January with you.

    Much love

    Uncle Ivan and Auntie Pat

  4. Hi Chris, I have just opened my emails and found your message.
    Am so sorry to hear that Susan is ill. Remember He is in control and “Whoso dwelleth under the defence of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty”. He is El Shaddai. He is working out His plans in the Dock area and the Enemy hates it. As for our God, “His Way is perfect”. You are both in my prayers.

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