Every locality has its landmarks and we all use them for navigating around our landscapes. A few like the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty are notable beyond their locality, but most only mean something to locals. When a familiar old tree is taken down or a favourite shop closes, there is a sense of loss and some disorientation. The pictured monument is probably known only to a very few readers - it is placed in heathland to mark the proximity of habitat for Wild Cranberries, the Woodlark and Nightjar. Some have creatively also used it for geocaching so if it was moved it would be confusing for dog walkers and for those searching for their next geocache answer. You will have some landmarks that mean a lot to you but little to others. Come to that, in the landscape of life, you will have people or events that are significant landmarks particularly to you. Perhaps you are a landmark for others like a cairn on a mountain walk to help them on their way.
- ‘The bees learn where they live by landmarks. If they're moved within their home range, they get confused’ - Gene Robinson
- ‘All the aftermath that so frequently follows in the wake of war still confront the nation, and we now, as ever before, must hold fast to the ancient landmarks and see to it that all of these plagues that threaten so mightily shall be rendered harmless’ - Alexander Henry
- ‘If you are in the country, you should notice landmarks - that is, objects which help you to find your way or prevent you getting lost, such as distant hills, church towers, and nearer objects, such as peculiar buildings, trees, gates, rocks and so on’ - Robert Baden-Powell
- ‘I've been in New York my whole life. It's changed so much; it's not the New York that I grew up with. All the landmarks of my childhood are gone. I do kind of feel like a bitter old-timer, like, 'These kids don't know what it was like' - Julia Fox
History is littered with landmark moments for social development such as Gutenberg’s printing press in 1450 AD, Edison’s electric light in 1879 AD and Jenner’s vaccination in 1796 AD to name just a few. Take any other type of landmark breakthrough you choose such as those in music, economics or even the internet, none of them come near to the impact made by ideas. Many ideas and philosophers come and go, but the most significant landmark the world has ever seen or heard is that of Christ Jesus, walking the earth 2000 years ago. His was not just an idea or an invention, but he gave life to humanity through himself and answers the biggest human questions of identity, value and purpose that face us. How then can so many miss this landmark on the journey of life, only to navigate by other landmarks that shift or disappear after a relatively short time?
- ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it’ - John 10:11-12
- ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’ - Hebrews 13:8
- ‘With rock piles and signposts, mark the way home, my dear people. It is the same road by which you left’ Jeremiah 31:21
- ‘We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body. He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so expansive, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross’ - Colossians 1:15-20 (The Message)
If this is a new landmark to you, then take some time to familiarise yourself with it so that it might guide you safely on your way. Jesus led the way for humanity up to and through death. Making it personal, he spoke to Martha to reassure her: ‘Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”’ (John 11:25-26). Jesus is THE signpost as he makes an awesome declaration: ‘I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6). If he were a corpse, he could not talk or have any authority but he left behind an empty tomb to the astonishment of the 500 disciples to whom he appeared. They found new courage to trust him and follow him as their landmark. Here’s a helpful link if you need to know more: Unconnected Introduction (connect4life.org.uk)
Perhaps Jesus Christ is your landmark and you are a secondary landmark pointing others to him through your life, words, acts of kindness and example. There are so many reasons to follow his path and take confidence from others which may act as secondary landmarks to you - the words and actions of Christian friends or churches. Everything that is truly good tracks back to the one true landmark of Christ who alone can keep you on track. You may never find the pictured landmark but that does not matter as it has no ultimate significance, although it might help you find Wild Cranberries and some rare birds. If ivy or weeds are preventing your way or view of THE landmark, it’s time to do some weeding.
TAGS – doubt, fear, confidence, assurance, faith, direction, faith, perseverance, commitment, pressing on