How one reacts to ‘wake up calls’ in the course of one’s life was partially dealt with theoretically by a line or two from St Paul that we read a couple of days ago as he wrote of suffering and endurance and character and hope (Romans 5: 1-8 was the epistle reading last Sunday).

It seems that the world, one way or another, is being ‘woken up’ to the underlying evil of sinful humanity.  Can it be contained?

The future alone will reveal this, but the need for all Christians, in fact people of all faiths and none, to reflect deeply on response and action, words and thoughts is undeniable and essential.

Even that thought lacks the immediacy of the way that we react to ‘breaking news’ that only too often these days seems to speak of tragedy for individuals and families and communities that brings with it the challenge as to how we cope within ourselves with our personal preoccupations and prejudice.  Daily, our prayers in the Cathedral are for those whose lives have been shattered, and for those whose gift to others is that of compassion, with their time and energy and emotional strength.

This does not take away from the individual ‘wake up’ calls that come to us from the first big failure of our lives or the temptation that won’t go away or a sudden and prolonged illness.  Things that ‘only happen to other people’ actually do happen to us.

Lightening the mood considerably, but still dwelling on taking time and patiently giving time, I received a present of an old-fashioned shaving kit last Sunday.  Now the squirt of shaving foam and two-minutes whip round the face with a razor has been replaced by the softening of the soap for 15 minutes, the soaking of the shaving brush, the working up of the lather for two minutes, turning the brush first clockwise, then anti-clockwise on the block of soap, the face gently plastered once the right consistency of lather is produced; not too thin; not too dry.  The mint and lemon balm that is softly applied to finish the operation rounds the whole thing off.

Well that’s two days I have managed such patient shaving now….. Time to reflect; time to slow the pace…..