Hot off the Press

“Remember to look up to the stars and not down at your feet” the wonderful, now-famous words of the late Professor Stephen Hawkings.

I expect many of us would struggle to follow this Theoretical Physicist’s scientific arguments, yet the news of his death has resulted in such media interest in this particular academic. It’s made me wonder what it is about Professor Hawkings that’s made him some sort of national treasure?

Is it, perhaps, because of his obvious disability? We saw a man cruelly limited by the devastating effects of Motor Neurone disease, and yet who managed to make the most of his life. Most of us will never comprehend the phenomenal contribution he made to our understanding of the universe, and yet we’re saddened by his death, perhaps because his disability meant we saw not an ivory-tower academic, but a human-being.

This made me wonder whether, if I knew nothing of Stephan Hawkings’ incredible achievements and simply came across this severely disabled person in his wheelchair, how might I react? How would I pre-judge him? What would I presume? What, and how, might I speak to him - if at all? Perhaps you saw the humorous Comic Relief film with Professor Hawkings and the Little Britain stars, with their patronising tone and words? (available online)

Whether we care to admit it, we do judge, jumping to conclusions based solely on first impression - fat, thin, old, young, poor, wealthy, stupid, intelligent, able, disabled etc. What about God? In the Old Testament God speaks to Samuel and says, “Samuel, don’t think Eliab is the one just because he’s tall and handsome. He isn’t the one I’ve chosen. People judge others by what they look like, but I judge people by what is in their hearts.”

Rev Julia

April 2018

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