I want to share two images with you. Both are of the sanctuary here the church building. One was taken a little over a year ago, and the other was taken just under a month ago as we prepared to return to the sanctuary for in-person worship services.
Quite different, right? The same space, close to the same time of day, with only me in the sanctuary, yet the two pictures are markedly different. All because of where I was at the time.
In the picture on the left, the sanctuary looks a little small. On the right, the space seems somewhat larger. For me, this is a vivid reminder that our perspective matters!
How we look at a situation makes all the difference in what we see, what we perceive. When you and I read the prophetic texts of the Hebrew Bible we often read them through the lens of Jesus. When we do that, we see how Jesus fulfills the covenant and promises those texts contain in a new and profound way. But, the first people to hear those words of challenge and of comfort did not have the story of Jesus. They were challenged and comforted by those texts because they were true at the time, just as they are true today. It is just today they take on additional meaning and relevance because we know more of the story. We have the history of Jesus, his birth, life, death, and resurrection, which adds depth and nuance to the stories we read. Our post-resurrection lens even colors the way we read the stories of Jesus life! Just as our 21st century lens impacts how we read the entire Bible as a story of our faith.
I have been wondering what the events of this year will look like when we get some distance from them. In five or ten years what meaning will we make from our experiences here in the first half of 2020? However, we do not have to wait five or ten years to make meaning out of this crucial time in history. We get to choose what perspective we view the events of today through. Right now. We have the power to choose fear or hope, crisis or community, dissention or unity. The choice is ours; will we look at the world around us and see it crumbling into disarray, or will we look for where God’s beloved community is breaking forth all around us?
My prayer is that we will choose to look for, and see, where God is at work in our midst. Then, have the courage and tenacity to join God in that good work. May it be so.