What do you see?

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         “A little while, and you will no longer see me,
         and again a little while, and you will see me.”

                  —John 16.16

Jesus was not setting up some cheesy magic trick; he was simply inviting his followers to trust, and to pay attention.

More than once Jesus said, “Look. What do you see?” I began writing Unfolding Light ten years ago when I was campus pastor at Montana State University-Billings. The campus is right under the imposing 100-foot sandstone bluffs that rim the northern edge of the city (and much of SW Montana). I sent emails with announcements to students and faculty, including a little observation on “The Rims Today,” inviting folks to notice those great, ever-changing paintings of light and shadow, rain and snow and imagination. I just wanted them to look. When I moved here to Concord, NH, I reflected on the woods in much the same way.

The spiritual life is a process of waking up from taking things for granted, giving attention to what is before us. Things change, beauty happens, grace and mystery abound—but we miss most of it because we’re not looking. On the path I carved through these woods nine years ago, I sometimes meet a fellow walking his dog. He has earphones on. He doesn’t look up. I don’t imagine he’s seen the purple vetch or observed the brook among the ferns rising and falling after rains, or knows that there’s a fox with five kits whose den is not 40 feet from the path. (We stare at each other every morning and every evening.) He’s not looking.

When we get used to things we want to stop looking. Even if you already know what it looks like, don’t stop looking. Notice it. Let every day be new. Reality is not a static thing, but continually unfolding. This is the day the Lord is creating. Rejoice and pay attention.

Tomorrow will be my last post for a while as I take a break to move to Acton, MA—not a big move, like from Montana to here, but a move. I’ll resume some time after the 4th of July. “A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” In the meantime keep paying attention.

Weather Report

New, despite its familiarity,
unfolding with what is,
as shifting clouds emerge
give way and disappear,
divine presence
just waiting to be seen.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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