I prayed that me eyes would be open this past week–to Holy Presence, to what I needed to see, to things I had not seen before. However, I found that it was not at all that simple. Many things competed to be seen and noticed every moment of every day, so I needed to add to my prayer, “Which lens are You giving me to use today? and what do You want me to savor and let sink into my consciousness in the days ahead?”
One day, with assistance from Christin Valters Paintner from her contemplative book Eyes of the Heart, I was caught by the lens of wonder, love and praise in the blueness in the world–cerulean, cobalt, cyan, cornflower, so many shades and hues that are part of creation, both divine and human, and in the intersections of those creative energies. I have had as a motto in my heart and on my refrigerator for many years: If you are going to be blue, be bright blue! The contemplation of that color, amongst so many colors, reminded me of the paradoxical nature of being a creature in God’s world–light and darkness, coexisting in our personal and collective lives. And I was thankful!
Another day I was overtaken by the lens of lament as I was thrust into the world of the commuter in which I spent much of my life and ministry. Freeway lanes and ramps, Metro platforms, parking lots, all were jam packed with beings, and cars and trucks were laden with people on deadline heading toward their appointed rounds. For so many, stress lay head of them, and so many we know are caught in systems of injustice and dead ends. Meanwhile, the news media on the radio counted out its tales of grief and horror as I drove, and I remembered Jesus lamenting over his city of vocation, Jerusalem, and his cry of prayer: Would that you knew the things that made for peace! I was led to praying in grief and sorrow that the Word of peace and hope would descend upon my city, my country, my county, even I prayed for the peace in Jerusalem and the rest of the world.
The lament became more personal another day when I heard of the untimely death of young man, someone my daughter’s age. The lens of grief and sorrow became my window into the world that day as I faced the realities of human frailty, brokenness and mortality. Once again I remembered how Jesus was present to me through that lens–meeting Mary and Martha at the tomb of their brother, Lazarus, and greeting Mary Magdalene in the garden of his own tomb. He bears our grief and carries our sorrows.
And then the lens of wholeness and healing opened up God’s presence to me on a day when I was able to notice places where the crooked had been made straight, where peace had come where there had been no peace, where the wounded had been made whole. A bereft friend is stepping into new life. A church community has opened itself to some new awareness of the presence of the Spirit. Traveling mercies, healing mercies, surprises of grace are attending the journeys of so many I can observe, as they commit themselves to the Good, toward the healing of the world. Grace abounds, and I can see the goodness of the Holy when I open my eyes.
In my Lenten journey I am seeking to open myself to the Presence of the Holy One within me and around me, and let the angels feed me. Opening my eyes, letting the Spirit gives me the lens for the moment, is allowing me to see that Holy One more clearly, and I am fed by the angels who embody what I can see of God’s ways in the world. I am blessed and grateful!