Michael Portillo’s excellent BBC series Great British Railway Journeys, has, so far, one glaring omission in its choice of truly great rail journeys – well in my opinion anyway! That is the Sheffield to Manchester line, through the Hope Valley.
It is a route that for many years was a regular route of ours, but the view from the window has not lost its sense of majesty for that. The same view is also available from the car, but it’s not as easy to watch it!
I never fail to be moved by the mountains that always look like they have been lovingly sculpted by hand and a green cloth smoothed over them. I personally find it hard to believe that anyone can look at that scenery and deny the hand of a creator – and a very good one at that!
Isaiah invites us to look around and see God:
6 The Lord, who rules and protects Israel,
the Lord Almighty, has this to say:
I am the first, the last, the only God;
there is no other god but me.
7 Could anyone else have done what I did?
Who could have predicted all that would happen
from the very beginning to the end of time?
8 Do not be afraid, my people!
You know that from ancient times until now
I have predicted all that would happen,
and you are my witnesses.
Is there any other god?
Is there some powerful god I never heard of
Isaiah invites us to look at everything God has done, in his world and in his people. His times of care and provision, his love for the world – and comes to the conclusion –
How can there be any other God but me?
Of course, people have got in the way of what God has done. We have been selfish and destructive. We have stopped God’s care and got in the way of the things he wants to do. We have undone some of his good work.
And yet we are invited to look around us, to reflect and consider.
Could anyone else have done all the good stuff?
And if the answer is no, then in God is our hope. For he remains a powerful God.
Lord, as I look around
I see your hand everywhere.
I see your love,
your creating power.
And yet I also see
where humanity has broken what you made,
or spoilt it,
or tried to stockpile it for ourselves.
But you are a great God,
the number 1.
Restore your earth we pray,
restore your people
to be your agents
of love and hope.
May we see you