HMS Queen Elizabeth provides inspiration for Bishop of Portsmouth

HMS Queen Elizabeth leaving Portsmouth Harbour
HMS Queen Elizabeth leaving Portsmouth Harbour

By the Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Rev Christopher Foster  

Back one Saturday evening in August, I was on my way from licensing a new priest on the Isle of Wight, when an announcement came over the tannoy on the ferry.

We were told that we were stopping in the middle of the Solent because the mouth of Portsmouth Harbour was temporarily closed.

We had an inkling that this might happen, but it was still something of a surprise. We were invited up onto the open-air deck in order to see the reason that we had stopped.

As we got to the top of the stairs, we had a full view of HMS Queen Elizabeth, making her way out of the harbour.

As she made her way out of the port and towards open sea, we were fortunate to have a spectacular view of the carrier and crew on their way past. We may not have had quite the closest view, but from the ferry – which suddenly seemed rather tiny – we saw the vessel from different angles and very much looking up.

It’s a rare thing to actually enjoy being delayed on your journey, but this was one of those moments, because we got to take in a very unusual view. And because it was both unusual and partly unexpected, it was a memorable and quite awe-inspiring experience.

We all need to be inspired from time to time. It’s not something that can happen every day, and it’s not something we can easily plan for, but we can keep an eye out for things, places, events, and so on, that move us or show us something new.

Some of our church buildings can have a similar effect for people, but you have to remind yourself of that when you work in one on a daily basis.

Things and places that become familiar can start to appear ordinary, and so you have to stop yourself and look at them in a new way to be reminded of their value.

And even more so, that can be true of those people who are close to us, when we need to remind ourselves of their gifts and what makes them so special.

So why not look for something new to inspire you, or perhaps remind yourself of the inspiring people and places that are already around you? Either way, it’s good to see the good in our world.