Annie O'Connor

I was reminded recently of something I learned in school and haven’t really thought of since – that movement is one of the seven processes essential to all living things; it is a sign of being alive. Without movement, there is no life.

I’d just walked up a great big hill in North Wales, and as I paused to admire the view (i.e. sit down and pant a bit), it struck me that such beautiful views come only after a steep climb, and, indeed, come only because of movement. It would have been easier not to move that day – I was four days into a 134-mile sponsored walk and I was a bit tired and achy. Sitting still and doing nothing seemed quite appealing. But not going uphill, not moving, would have meant not reaching my destination and not experiencing the beauty waiting there for me. So, I kept moving.

And, as I walked that day, I began to think about movement. What does it mean to move? I thought about other words and ideas that describe some aspect of this word movement – words and ideas like: motion, life, activity, change, openness, improvement, energy, growth, wondering, wandering, transformation, rhythm, flexibility.

I thought about the things in my backpack that I didn’t really need for the journey, that were weighing me down and restricting movement. I thought about things in my life that need to move. I thought about things in my heart that need to move. I thought about things in our country and in our world that need to move.

Writing this now, I’m reminded of something I used to teach my Philosophy students before I moved to Church Army – that God is the Prime Mover, that all movement can be traced back to God because without an initial mover, nothing would move at all. Without God, there is no life, no movement, no change.

I thought about Jesus as the movement of God, the stepping out of God, the motion and activity of God, the changing and transforming arrival of God – in my life, in my heart, in our country and in our world.

Then I thought about how I need to be the movement of God, how we, as Church, need to be the movement of God. Back in school, I also learned that joints and tendons and muscles are needed for movement. And it seemed to me, as I walked up that hill and then down the other side and into the valley, that we are the joints and tendons and muscles that enable the movement of God.

And so, I was greatly encouraged by all this thought of movement as I walked the many miles that day and the next day, and the next… But that was just a few days’ walk, a bit of physical movement. The greater challenge to me is to keep moving spiritually and practically, so that movement isn’t just a nice idea to reflect on as I take time out from my normal routine, but a transforming and concrete reality in my life. Indeed, it is one of the things that shows I am alive.

So, I share this with you in the hope that it will get you thinking about movement as well. What needs to move in your life? Where and how can you be the movement of God?

Here’s what I like about walking long distances: it gives me time to think and it gives God space to reveal things to me that I might not notice otherwise. I cannot recommend it to you highly enough – get moving!

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