I grew up in the University City of Cambridge in England. Cambridge, like Oxford, has a somewhat rarefied atmosphere. The separation of “town and gown” was fairly clear even in the 80’s during my teens.
As my teenage years went on I heard from my older brother about something called “Reality Checkpoint” – I asked him what it was. It was an old Victorian, cast-iron lamppost in the middle of a green space called Parker’s Piece. Parker’s Piece was divided by two diagonal paths, and in the centre, where they crossed, was the only source of light – the lamppost named by locals Reality Checkpoint.
How it got this name, it is not clear, although one theory is that it related to the problems of crossing Parker’s Piece in the dark or in the fog, and being unsure of your whereabouts without the lamppost to guide you. The name stuck though. Other theories are postulated, and the post now has its own Wikipedia page (Link).
In my youth the words Reality Checkpoint were continually scratched into the paintwork of the base, as you can see here:
Every time it was painted over, some wag would do it again. Eventually the council renovated the lamppost fully (it now being, believe it or not, a Grade II listed structure), and when they did, they clearly decided to honour all those rebels, and whoever it was who first named the post, and now its name is there, picked out in gold paint for all to see.
It looks great. I am rather fond of Reality Checkpoint, having passed it many times on various nights out in Cambridge.
But why am I telling you all this?
There is another Reality Checkpoint – one which we must have if we are to cross the dark, to navigate in the world: The bible – the very word of God!
In 1 Corinthians 13:12 we are told:
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
The glass there is a mirror, but it’s the verse which sprang to mind when thinking of crossing the fog, the dark – we struggle to see our way without Reality Checkpoint.
Everything that is going on in the vile darkness of this world has to be navigated by us. The evil is so prevalent – and we have to know our way.
When we doubt what is real from what is fake we need our Reality Checkpoint. We need to refer to the word of God to see if these things be so: [emphasis added]
Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. Acts 17:10-12 NKJV
We need to cling – not drunkenly to a lamppost in the fog, but to the word of God in these last days. Our bible should be with us!
The story of Reality Checkpoint is an illustration of what we, as people, do when we cannot find our way – when there is little to point the way safely for us we invent our own way – we lean on our own understanding, as we might rely on a cast-iron lamppost in the fog.
The bible is there to be a lamp unto our feet:
“Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 NKJV
Praise the LORD!
We can walk more surely when we close our minds around the word of God.
God Bless you