CHRISTIAN COMMENT: Life is made from details

Everything’s a bit manic at the moment.

The government’s fire-fighting problems that seem largely of its own making.

The Olympic flame’s progress is still nearly centre-stage though there’s now more detail on the national weather than the news bulletins.

The Euro is struggling – though I suspect there’ll be a sort of lull until the Greek elections in mid-June.

And the scale of atrocity in Syria is threatening to numb our response.

It’s happened before.

So much stressful news – big news – dulls our ability to respond.

And, faced with overload, we shut down our sensibilities.

Remember Rwanda? Maybe. With difficulty.

Darfur? Again, maybe. What about the siege of Sarajevo?

It’s often all too much.

But what do stay are the little moments, whether of horror or relief.

I recall the Rwandan hut stacked with the skulls of those massacred in one village.

The graphic testimony of one woman chased and violated by Janjaweed militia.

But also the single child rescued after ten days under the rubble of a house destroyed by an earthquake.

The Afghan girls at school for the first time since the Taliban’s prohibition on women being educated.

“The devil’s in the detail.”

Yes, of course – we know the sting that can hide in the small print.

But God is also in the details – small, creative, affirming.

That’s why Jesus said: “Focus on today. On the person next to you. On the job you have in hand to do – now. Stop worrying about what other people should be doing. What’s here in front of you? Leave the big scheme to God. Just know how you fit into His plan.”

The “detail” for me today is a grandson born about 30 hours ago.

That’s meant a rapid trip to London, taking Grandma to look after the other children, a return to Worthing to carry on with whatever’s in the diary.

But part of my hearing is for the phone.

And part of my thinking is on that little fragment of humanity, eighty miles away.

What he is, how he is – and Mum, of course – is the key detail of today.

The big picture is useful.

It’s the way we make our past coherent.

It’s the map from which we can demonstrate “We were here once”.

So I continue preparations for the Jubilee, for our holiday, for some Olympic watching.

And I keep an eye on God’s big picture too.

We’ve got the past map but he’s got the future map.

I’m going to have to give an account to Him of how I’ve handled the details. It would be unwise to lose sight of that.

But the detail is what stays with us. The detail is where we live.

Nigel O’Dwyer lives and works in Worthing