A question of scale…

When I was growing up there was a point at which my model locomotive ambitions very definitely outstripped my available space.  My desires for a sprawling complex of tracks, sidings and outbuildings had to give way to the practicality of space – my bedroom actually needed room for me to sleep! It was at this point that I switched from 00 scale models (where 1 foot is represented by 4mm) to N scale ( where 1 foot is represented by 2mm). The thing I couldn’t get was this – how come a model half the size cost me twice the price?  Where I could afford majestic locomotives on the original scale, now I was reduced to squat little tank engines – and even that only after saving up!

The reason, of course, lay in the workmanship.  It took far more time and skill to create a working model on a smaller scale. The patience and dexterity required was far greater. In short, cutting down is harder than scaling up.

As a preacher, I understand that better than ever.  It can take twice as long to prepare a ten minute talk as it can a twenty minute sermon. Not only that, but a two-minute BBC radio script can take me three or four times as long.(See http://bit.ly/cqmHvu) Simplicity is not simple.  As Michael Quicke says:”the simplicity on this side of the profound any fool can have, but the simplicity on the other side…”

This week I shall be writing and delivering five-minute stories from the life of Peter to a lively group of 40 or so 5 – 8 year-olds. I suspect each one will take longer to prepare than the 20-minute sermon I preached to their adult leaders yesterday. A bit like my miniature locomotives of old – the secret is in the skill and construction. A bit like my locomotives too – I trust they will stay on track and not break down!

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