God’s Picture 10.30.2014…
Today I was walking along minding my own business enjoying a walk in the Columbus Township St. Clair County Park there were more clouds than sunshine the temperature was in the low 50’s when I turned suddenly to the left and came face to face with God! YUP! That’s right God was standing there silently calling out to me. Since God is more stealthy than an F-117A Stealth Bomber and comes and goes faster than a runaway heartbeat my first reaction was to grab my cellphone camera and forever capture the moment digitally in pixels and other electronic stuff.
CLICK! And I had God safely locked away in my camera.
I’ll bet you never expected God to look like a twisted dead tree covered with weeds and surrounded by heavy undergrowth! I know I didn’t but the moment I turned and looked at his small white eyes I knew it was him he didn’t need to say a word. Wouldn’t you know it no sooner had I heard the telltale click of my camera he was gone. Gone maybe, but never to be forgotten subject to instant recall because even though God appears to disappear he never does. God can no more go away from us than the sun not shine because even during the darkest night the sun continues to shine.
If you think camera’s take photographs or pictures you’d be wrong! Cameras capture moments in time, in way they are miniature time machines that allow us to turn back the heartbeat of time. Cameras capture moments in time by reducing time to microseconds and locking it away on film or in electronic impulses.
In her book titled Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice Christine Valters Paintner writes about stepping outside of time and experiencing the timeless of a captured moment. “The eye of aesthetic spirituality sees more than other eyes. Art in general, and photography in particular , helps to facilitate this awakening by granting us epiphanies through its transfigurations of the ordinary. We come to know more than what appears within our line of vision.” (page 13, Ave Maria Press, Kindle Edition)
Did you know you cannot measure an epiphany in units of time, you can’t. While you may be able to measure the experience in seconds or minutes the actual contact with the Divine (the epiphany) actually occurs with God who resides outside of time. Christine Paintner on page 4 of her book puts it this way. “For me, both art and spirituality are truly about tending to the moments of life: listening deeply, holding space, encountering the sacred, and touching eternity. For a few seconds I touch time beyond time, and in that spacious presence my heart grows wider, my imagination frees, my breath catches, and I am held in awe and wonder. These are the moments that help to make life full of meaning.”
As I gaze into God’s pictured above I find myself drawn into the image and it’s as if God is telling me, “This is life and the world as you see them a decaying twisted collection of dead wood and dying weeds and bushes. But is it not life and the world as I see them. The world is a wonderful place where life can be lived in the abundance of my Spirit. All you need to do is to ignore all your conceived and preconceived images you see with your eyes and look deeply into my life and my world.”
There are times when we become so immersed in the negativity that surrounds us every day that we become oblivious to the beauty that awaits us when we encounter the Living God who lives beyond the boundaries of time yet through the Holy Spirit steps into our time and loans us God’s eyes so we can see what God sees. Again quoting Christine Paintner, “God’s presence is always before us. The invitation is to shift our vision from seeing the obvious and expected with our physical eyes to beholding the sacred within any given moment with the eyes of our hearts. The word “behold” appears throughout scripture as a way of calling our attention to something important, inviting us to see differently, to observe with care.”
As I bring this to a close I wonder how I will encounter God the next time I affix the eyes of my heart on the timeless image titled God’s Picture 10.30.2014.
Grace and PEACE