"Toute ascension vers un endroit merveilleux se fait par un escalier en spirale." Francis Bacon
"All goings-up towards a wonderful place pass by a spiral staircase."
When we talk about getting somewhere, reaching goals, putting something into place, there's always that sense of climbing up and reaching for the heights. We often use mountain images, the sky, the heavens...
When we are young we usually think it's a matter of just getting on to it and getting there pretty directly. We older ones now realize that life is really full of spirals!
'Two steps forward; one step back' is the optimistic version.
'One step forward; two steps back' is the pessimistic version!
I think spirals are pretty. And, honestly, when you have heaps of stairs to climb, spirals are less taxing; the steps are often smaller and you can't see the end so you live in perpetual hope of arriving at the top just around the next bend! In France there are millions of spiral staircases. I can speak of the real ones in high fortified towers and gracious castles. Or I could speak of the metaphorical ones, which are hard work and difficult to be motivated for.
France is a difficult country when it comes to achieving anything from education to job creation to changing attitudes and developing productive relationships. It's not impossible, but it takes a lot of energy.
In our church union, we are introducing a new process which we hope will bring maturity and growth to those churches that decide to commit to this pathway. It's called Vitality. We have already talked about spirals and how to encourage them to advance rather that to go backwards. I'll let you know how we get on when the process really gets underway. Please pray for optimism and energy. We are aiming high on this one!