I took this shot a while back, but found it hiding among a group of photoraphs! I jusy had to give it an airing! A spire, a roof or two, and the most amazing sky. Clouds are endlessly fascinating; the vanishing point draws us ever onward and upward.
The more I look at the photograph, the more I see and reflect upon. The photograph is a moment in time, but my thinking, as I look at it, starts moving me in different directions.
It looks like the clouds have been gathered together, as you would with a bunch of flowers, and are being waved about by a creative mind. For no particular reason, apart from focussing my thinking about what type of clouds they are; how they are formed and how long they will last.
It makes me thankful, that the Creative God has so many ways to try and make us stop, look, observe, be inquisitive. The first words in the Bible are these;
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. There you have it. Not the answer at all, but the beginning of so many questions. We are sentient beings who have the ability to explore and question endlessly. God expects no less from us. The conversation will carry on for ever!!! Random patterns or the sign of a creative mind?
I searched for a photograph of a church and snow….this is what was served up! The church is there, it has been snowing, and it got me thinking about lonliness.
I am conscious that we will each interpret this photograph from our own unique vantage point and personal challenges at this moment. There is a sense of abandonment in my reflection. It seems cut off from any community; alone in a landscape that seems to offer a profound longing for something different; light, heat, people, singing, prayers.
Churches in lockdown in many places; unable to be opened. No gathering, online worship. But the building represents something that goes beyond our limited vision. It is a reminder of moments of gathering and shared experience. Too often taken for granted, but making us think laterally, now that we can’t physically come together.
We have to allow ourselves moments during our day, to stop. Giving ourselves time to reflect on lonliness as part of our existence, and how these times can allow us to listen to the silence. Our silence. A meeting place with God, in our sacred space, deep in our souls….offered to each of us.
‘The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.’
A snippet of conversation between Jesus and a man named Nicodemus, recorded in the Gospel of John. Nicodemus was a religious and well connected man, but he had many questions for Jesus
I sense that he was suprised by what he had seen and heard and was trying to understand. I guess it comes with being human. You will no doubt have your own questions as you read this. I have many!
The balloon drifts on currents of air that are invisible, but have a physical effect. Our lives can somethimes get close to this. Jesus was simply telling Nicodemus that there is nothing mysterious in how God’s Spirit works in our lives…the Spirit is like the wind. Moving us, helping us, whispering to us, suprising us.
Religion makes it all too complicated. we simply need to allow the Spirit to rest in our hearts and be ready for suprise!
‘O God,youaremyGod, earnestly I seekyou; my soul thirsts for you,…..,,’
The opening words of Psalm 63, and the title of this reflection. Summer seems a long way past and a long walk to summertime 2021. Yet even a simple picture of the vibrant colours of a field of lavender can lift one’s spirit and fill the heart with gladness.
Perspective is a difficult thing sometimes. I can very easily ‘lose perspective’, which is why writing this today is helping me to find what is so easy to miss.
The Psalms are a rich vein of inspiriation, and seem to have an ability to speak into every moment. What captures my attention is that sense of seeking, as if God is just around the corner, or just out of sight, waiting to be found. A kind of divine ‘hide and seek’ ! What prompts the seeking, is as diverse as we are and as unique as we are!
The psalmist gives us a clue as to why the seeking is happening…something to do with a ‘soul thirst’, However you want to describe that for yourself! I find this very energising as I repeat the words in my consciousness. The seeking is not wishful thinking, or speaking into thin air! It is looking for the connection with the one who wants to be found!
The subtext is, that God will be found, and our inner thirst quenched! How this happens is utterly unique to each of us.
I’ve just lit our stove and it got me thinking about fire and flame and heat and to be frank, a whole lot of things, that are now swirling around in my head. The flame is both fragile and potentially destructive; gentle and roaring!
Beginnings and endings reach to the heart of our lives. Sometimes minor, other times major. Predictable, random, suprising or planned. The photograph has a vanishing point, with a helpfully marked arrow on each side and lines to keep within. All is not what it seems, because on inspection, the car seems to have stopped and there is figure on the passenger side.
You can make your own story up! Please feel free! Other tracks lead off into the desert. When you look beyond the obvious or what seems like ‘the real’, more unfolds, and the vanishing point doesn’t seem so simple.
All this preamble, leads me to the point of today’s blog; that faith, however we look at it or define it, cannot be grasped or neatly understood. Basically because we are complex beings and the diversity we have is a reflection of the one who is the Creator.
Faith is a complex journey for each of us, and this is the challenge and the joy of every moment we live in. If life was easy and a case of heading from A to B we would fail to learn anything. Faith in God has always taken me off the beaten track, sometimes by choice, other times by God’s guiding hand.
I pray that you will know the strength of the Holy Spirit in the rough and the smooth moments…the straight highway and the dusty desert, where visibility may be poor, but where the ‘still, small voice’, calls us to make a step and trust!
The Lord bless you and keep you on your journey, wherever it takes you!
I have chosen this photograph because I have no idea what it is! Potentially it might be a mix of liquids of different viscocities which have been allowed to mix together. It could also be an abstract painting.
You will have your own perspective and interpretation.
But it got me thinking about how we see things and then interpret them. The world looks ever so slightly different from our own unique standpoint. When it comes down to faith and belief then the possibilities are endless.
I like the movement and fluidity of the photograph. It draws the eye and seems to invite us to explore further. Which very neatly describes for me, what faith is all about. It certainly is not static; a body of belief that that never changes. It is far more dynamic and interactive with our lives and our hopes and fears.
Some words from Jesus in the Book of Revelation; ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, ‘
The movement of dandelion seeds; taking the the air, moved by a gentle breeze or breath…almost imperceptible. Drifting on streams of air which will randomly carry them to a place of renewal and growth.
Life can seem a little like the drifting dandelion seeds, captured in this photograph. That sense of randomness; something being done to us which we may feel we have no control over. Here are some words from Jesus; ‘The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
These are deeply reassuring words in these uncertain times. We can all feel as though we are being buffeted by all that is happening. But these words speak powerfully of the Holy Spirit as the one who can reach into our heart and soul and spirit. Not left alone to move randomly through our lives, but actually having a profound connection with the Spirit of God. Not for a selected few. For all; you and I.
Sometimes we can feel insignificant, blown about, uncertain. Please be reassured that you are not left alone. What might seem random is actually, in God’s eyes, purposeful. Just know that you are never outside the love of God…ever.
When I first looked at this photograph, I saw only the tree and it’s refection in the water, with the landscape behind it. It was some moments later when I realised that in the top left was the full moon! I has completely missed it because I was focussed on the tree.
We may not be able to see the wood from the trees at times…but missing the moon?! It’s a parable of life I guess. We can get so fixated on particular hopes, fears and other distractions in life, that we miss the obvious, which may be right in front of us!!
The moon is small enough to miss, but obvious enough to see!!! It’s just easier to look at the dominant feature, or thought, and get fixated on that, rather than viewing the bigger picture.
There’s a simple learning opportunity here, staring us in the face. Always look beyond the obvious or the dominant. Life today can get us caught in a loop of negativity as we try to understand all that is unfolding.
Look beyond the dominant or obvious and you’ll see differently. The whisper of God in our hearts comes in many guises, and the visual sense is very powerful!