Wednesday, March 31, 2021


A few years ago, a distressed woman stood on the platform at Embankment Tube station in London. 

Trains passed, but she didn’t get on. 
She just stood and listened as the announcements played, 
“Mind the gap”. 

She approached the staff and asked why the voice had gone. 
Which voice, they wondered. 
Then she explained that she meant the man who usually said, 'Mind the Gap’. 
The voice had changed. Someone different was saying those words. 
The staff explained that the announcement system had been updated and a new actor had been used to voice, 
“Mind the gap.”They asked why it was so important. 

"That voice was my husband," she replied. 
The woman was Dr Margaret McCollum, and the voice was her late husband, actor Oswald Laurence, who had died a few years earlier. 
She had found comfort in hearing his voice making the announcements while she waited for her train, but now it was gone. 
Moved by her distress, staff eventually managed to track down the old recording. 
They gave Margaret a CD and they  started using his voice again on the Northern Line platform at Embankment Station. 
Margaret was delighted. 

The Easter story has a gap. 
The gap between Good Friday and Easter Sunday must have seemed like the biggest, darkest gaping hole in human history. 
The Light of the World had been extinguished, Jesus Christ had been crucified and all hope had left the world. 
But like Dr McCollum, Mary Magdalene heard the voice of her loved one again when she met the risen Jesus at the empty tomb, calling her name, and her hope was restored. 
  Margaret McCollum won’t see her husband this side of heaven, but she is comforted by hearing his voice. In a world full of social distance, of essential isolation and reliance on technology to see and hear our loved ones, it seems as if there are many gaps. Searching for comfort in the voice of God is something we can do to fill that gap and to stay connected to him until all this is over. Stay safe and mind the gap. 

Spirit Mind the Gap by Penny Culliford, 
Chaplain at YMCA Thames Gateway