Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Route 55 - Are you on the right route?

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

Some months ago, a new bus route was introduced on the west side of Birmingham. 

This new service carries the number 55, and it links the southwest suburb of Longbridge with that of Quinton in the west. The most direct route is 6.8 miles. By car it takes up to 20 minutes and to walk about two hours. The best time by public transport is around an hour. 

The 55 bus is neither direct nor quick. In fact, it is one of the most indirect journeys one could imagine. It starts near the site of the former Austin Motor Company factory. The site comprises various retail units, a Further Education College, houses and apartments. The 55 bus seems to head off in the wrong direction, but another major shopping centre is reached by twists and turns around the houses. Beyond, there are the pleasant roads of Bournville Village, created by Cadbury Brothers, beside their famous chocolate factory.
The route planners have tried to serve every housing area and shopping centre they could, So it is soon back to busy roads, more twists and turns with a mini tour of a housing estate with only one way in or out. A major hospital is then followed by a fashionable High Street before traversing roads with various homes that many admire but could never afford. 

The last leg is another round tour doubling back through social housing to finally arrive at a large supermarket nearly two hours after the journey started.

The map of the route is like an infant's first attempt to draw a straight line with a pencil they cannot hold properly. No one would normally make the journey end to end, but there is a multitude of short journeys that the elderly can make with their bus passes, primarily for shopping.

The route is like a map of life’s journey. We begin with everything new, but after early pleasant experiences, we go in the wrong direction. We find ourselves facing unhappy circumstances before being involved in material things. 

We seem to go round in circles before health issues come along. There might be some respite, only to be followed by taking the long way around. Life's journey ends, and we remember the people who joined us somewhere along the way only to get off in between. We may consider if there was a better way if we could live our lives over again. 

Route 55 does not appear to be well used, so it could be withdrawn completely. So, how long will it last? Nobody knows. That sums up the issue of how long our lives will last. We hope for a long life of happiness, good health and straightforward events, but that is often not the case. There is no certainty in anything except that our lives will end in death, and this can happen at any age. It is certain, but are you ready for it?

God has wonderfully made it possible for everyone to be absolutely certain that they are ready. He sent His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to bear the punishment for all of our sins and to conquer death forever. He rose on the third day and, having dealt with sin and its consequences, is now seated at His Father's right hand in Heaven. Yes, we have all sinned, says the Bible, and we need to be saved from it and its consequences. He wants to be our Saviour, and He can be if we only repent of our sins and trust Him by faith as our Personal Saviour. We need to do it today, says the Bible. Our journey of life could end sooner than we think.


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